Government still against arbitration on teacher pay
-despite meeting mix-up
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
January 15, 2003

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The government is not compelled to go arbitration to settle the issue of salaries for teachers for the year 2002, Education Minister Dr Henry Jeffrey has reiterated.

Following the impasse between the government and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on wages, the government went ahead and announced salary hikes. Teachers are currently being paid increases for last year ranging from 5% to 15.5%. The highest percentage is for those in the lower scale. In spite of the increases, 367 junior teachers/teacher aides and acting teachers will still receive less than $21,047, the minimum wage of traditional public servants. Over 3,000 teachers will get salaries over this amount.

Jeffrey was asked about the admission that the Ministry of Labour had taken responsibility for the breakdown in a meeting which should have been held to facilitate the arbitration process between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers' Union (GTU). The non-attendance of the GTU at the meeting had been cited by Jeffrey as one of the reasons which prompted the government to go ahead with the payout. Jeffrey told Stabroek News that the Collective Labour Agreement between the ministry and the union says that arbitration "is by mutual consent" and the ministry does not have to go to arbitration.

Jeffrey maintained that the GTU did not act with urgency on the issue of arbitration and the fact that they were invited to the meeting by the Ministry of Labour in December but did not confirm their participation indicated they were not ready for negotiations. The ministry, he said, responded and made the payout because it has been under pressure from the teachers and the Office of the Budget to pay.

The ministry was not breaking any rules by not going to arbitration he said adding that the GTU should have been ready for the December meeting. He said he was assured by GTU executives of their planned attendance at the arbitration meeting at a Christmas party which was held the night before the meeting.

But the GTU President Sydney Murdock told Stabroek News that as far as the union was concerned arbitration was still open. Murdock said the GTU was not at fault for missing the meeting.

Chief Labour Officer Mohamed Akeel had explained to the union in a letter dated December 30, 2002, that due to a breakdown in communication "within my office I was not advised that the meeting was not arranged." He said he presumed that "since the Permanent Secretary (Hydar Ally) was present that the meeting was arranged and the union did not attend. "I so advised the Permanent Secretary and further advised that the meeting will be rescheduled."

According to the current payout the junior teachers and teacher aides will receive a salary of $20,075, an increase 15.5%; while the acting teacher gets $20,103, an increase of 10.25% on the 2001 salary. The pupil teacher I gets an 8.15% increase to $22,107; and the pupil teacher II gets an 8.15% increase to $23,869.

The temporary unqualified - 8.29% with salary going to between $22,275 to $24,479; the temporary II - $23,880 to $27,026; and the temporary qualified III - $27,063 to $30,208.

Those receiving the 5% increase include the temporary qualified/trained teachers, assistant lecturers I and II and Instructor I who will receive between $38,400 to $43,700 to the principals of the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI), Essequibo Technical Institute (ETI) and the Linden Technical Institute (LTI) whose salaries are now $112,196.

Non graduate and senior assistants will receive between $44,766 to $49,030; non-graduate Head `D' (nursery), head of department, instructor II, non graduate senior mistress - $51,369 to $55,709; non-graduate head teacher grade `E' and non-graduate head grade `C' nursery - $52,815 to $57,157; and lecturer I, $51,872 to $56,136.

The salary of the untrained graduate is now $53,072 to $59,325; non-graduate deputy head grade `B', $54,263 to $58,604; the non-graduate head grade `D' and non-graduate head grade `B' nursery, $57,156 to $61,499.

The trained graduate, lecturer I, instructor I goes to $59,325 to $65,115; the non-graduate deputy head grade `A' gets between $60,050 and $64,391; the non-graduate head grade `C' and non-graduate grade `C', $62,220 and $68,010; and the graduate senior assistant, $65,115 to $70,902.

The non-graduate head grade `B' and the graduate head grade `d' nursery get between $68,010 and $73,796; the graduate senior masters/mistresses, heads of departments, graduate head grade `C' nursery, lecturer I - CPCE, GTI, NATI, ETI and Instructor III - Carnegie School of Home Economics, Government Industrial Training Centre (GITC) and graduate head grade `E', get between $70,903 and $76,690.

The graduate deputy grade `B' and non-graduate head grade `A' now gets between $73,796 and $79,586; the graduate head grade `D' and the graduate head grade `B' nursery, $76,690 and $82,479.

The graduate deputy grade `A', senior lecturer - CPCE, GTI, NATI, LTI, ETI - chief instructor - GITC and deputy principal - CHSE- $79,690 and $85,372.

The graduate head of a grade `C' and graduate head of a grade `A' nursery get between $82,479 and $89,714; the graduate head grade `B', $88,264 and $95,501; and the graduate head grade `A', $94,045 and $101,288.

The graduate sixth form head, vice principal - CPCE, NATI and deputy principal - GTI/NATI/LTI/ETI, the administrator of the GITC and the principal CHSE get between $99,410 and $107,077.

The principals of GTI/CPCE/NATI/ETI/LTI get a salary of $112,196.

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