Teachers union formulating three-year salary package
Murdock says 2.5% or 3.5% can't work
Stabroek News
October 8, 2002

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President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) Sydney Murdock says the union is working to produce a three-year salary package to cater for 2002, 2003 and 2004, in keeping with its primary mandate to work towards the improvement of the welfare of its members.

In a message to mark International Teachers' Day on Sunday, Murdock declared that "2.5% or 3.5% will not be countenanced" in terms of a salary hike for teachers.

And regarding better conditions of service, he noted that the Ministry of Education had assured the GTU that "every effort is being made to expedite Whitley Council leave allowance, the distribution of house lots to teachers and the increase of hard-lying allowances for teachers in the hinterland areas."

Moreover, Murdock said, the union is working diligently to ensure that every aspect of the 15-point proposal submitted to the Ministry of Education since 1998 is realised and that also includes duty-free cars for teachers.

Despite poor working conditions and inadequate salaries, he said, the GTU still sees itself as a crucial partner in the delivery of quality education to the nation's children.

"To this end, I wish to remind our teachers that rights do not go without responsibilities. They go together. Therefore every aspect of our performance must be focused on enhancing the quality of professionalism that would indeed make us stand out as the nation's most important trainers," Murdock said.

He noted that myriad problems beset the country, while teachers are affected by inadequate remuneration, poor working conditions, and insensitive and inadequate performance by many of their supervising officers. In addition, they are now being faced with political instability, an escalating crime rate, absence of a cohesive political vision and a weak political will. One result, he pointed out, is the absence of a Teaching Service Commission, which has caused many teachers to be "short changed".

Murdock observed that there is much talk about improving the standard of education, equal access to education at all levels, increased training for teachers and the general increase of the budgetary allocations for the education sector. "While all of these statements might be true to varying degrees," he remarked, "the reality is that the human factor in the education equation for success is being neglected, sad to say."

He also expressed his union's gratitude to the media for helping to highlight the situations where teachers are still required to work without such basic facilities as water and toilets. Murdock added that some hinterland schools still operate under conditions that would be regarded by their counterparts on the coastland as being sub-human.