Take it or leave it
-teachers' 3% is final, says ministry
Stabroek News
June 16, 2004

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The Ministry of Education's salary increase offer to teachers remains at 3% across the board at conciliation talks, an offer, which the Guyana Teachers' Union (GTU) rejected at bilateral negotiations.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Ganga Persaud, put the final offer to the teachers at the fourth conciliation talks between the GTU and the ministry. The talks were held under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour.

The GTU President, Avril Crawford told the GTU yesterday that Persaud told the union that the government could not increase the offer. She said even though she dared to be optimistic, given the government's stance in recent negotiations, she had expected this response.

A Government Information Agency (GINA) release quoted Crawford as saying that the union has rejected the offer and that if there was no way that the chairman of the proceedings, Chief Labour Officer, Mohamed Akeel could convince the Ministry of Education that a better offer was necessary, then the union would move to the next level.

Crawford said that she was not convinced that the ministry wanted the matter resolved quickly and wanted to stall the proceedings.

The GTU has called a press briefing today to respond to the ministry's offer.

The GINA release quoted Persaud as saying that after "deliberating extensively on the proposals made by the union, the ministry's offer on an increase stands at 3% across the board."

Persaud said that if the union's decision to move to the next level was a threat, then the entire meeting on negotiations was a waste of time. In spite of the final 3% offer, Persaud told GINA that the ministry was open to further negotiations.

GINA also quoted Akeel as saying that to resolve the issue a committee needs to be formed to examine the statistics and figures cited by the union as well as the arguments put forward by the ministry. GINA said the union has agreed to this move.