Teachers union seeking conciliation talks
Says no mention of Jeffrey’s $60M in minutes

Stabroek News
December 9, 2002

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The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) has written to Chief Labour Officer, Mohamed Akeel, requesting the Ministry of Labour to facilitate conciliation in its salary negotiations with the government.

The union is now awaiting a response from the Chief Labour Officer to the letter sent on Tuesday.

Talks on salary increases with the Ministry of Education broke down a week ago when the government offered the teachers a 5% pay hike.

The government says it also offered a $60M package to help bring the salaries of teachers at the lower scale on par with the country’s minimum wage.

GTU President Sydney Murdock told Stabroek News that the GTU took the initiative to move to conciliation after the union had written a letter to President Bharrat Jagdeo last week and received no response. Murdock said that the letter was sent to the President asking him to intervene to bring the matter to a speedy resolution rather than having to go to conciliation and arbitration.

Meanwhile in a release, the GTU is again denying that the Education Ministry offered the $60M package at the meeting held on November 7. A copy of the minutes was attached to the GTU release.

The minutes were prepared by a scribe employed by the Education Ministry and make no mention of the $60M.

Murdock told Stabroek News that while the $60 million would bring the level of the teachers in the lower scale in line with the minimum wage, the 5% was grossly inadequate.

He said the union had initially requested a 50% to 60% increase but taking into consideration the performance of the economy which had been hit because of political and social instability, the union had lowered its request to 15%.

Education Minister Dr Henry Jeffrey has insisted that he made an offer of $60M for those teachers whose pay was grossly inadequate.

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