Proposed arbitration talks on teachers pay talks stalled
July 20, 2004
PROPOSED arbitration talks between the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education have stalled, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Ganga Persaud has reported.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), he yesterday said the standstill stemmed from non-inclusion of the ministry's request for its national and international commitments in the draft terms of reference.
GTU was “not inclined to accept our request and so the ministry could not have moved ahead with a terms of reference which would not have taken into consideration Government’s national and international commitments", Persaud told the agency.
The commitments included all the agreements that the government would have had with the international donor community.
He said the ministry was also requesting that the arbitration panel take into consideration increases in teachers' salaries from 1992 to 2003, and the state of the economy as these are factors which would impact any decision on wages and salaries.
GINA said he pointed out that this has been the ministry's position from the beginning.
Persaud said Chief Labour Officer, Mr. Mohamed Akeel, who chaired the meetings between the two parties, gave a commitment that the Labour Mininstry would make contact with the Ministry of Education on the way forward;
At the last meeting, Persaud said the GTU made a request for the intervention of Labour Minister, Dr. Dale Bisnauth.
Union officials and Akeel could not be contacted for comment.
Talks under way on getting food coupons
IN AN effort to reduce imbalanced dietary intake, which weakens children and reduces their resistance to diseases, the government has implemented a Basic Nutrition Programme aimed at reducing malnutrition among women and young children in poor communities.
Director of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Health Development Project, Dr. Frank Anthony, in an invited comment to the Government Information Agency (GINA), said they are negotiating with the United Kingdom firm, Delarue, to print coupons for accessing foodstuff.
He is hopeful that the negotiations will conclude shortly, so that printing of the coupons can begin.
The US$6.42M programme will run for four years, with 14,000 children being targeted and is funded jointly by the Government of Guyana and the IDB.
Under the programme, parents of children aged six to 24 months will be given food coupons when they visit clinics and health centres.
Anthony noted that 40 health clinics in the rural coastal region that fall in poorest enumeration districts have been identified to participate in the coupon scheme.
Parents of children aged six to 12 months will receive one coupon per month when they report to the health centre for routine growth monitoring and counselling, and parents of children between 12 and 24 months will receive two months worth of coupons.
The coupons cannot be replicated, as these will be printed on secure paper and will have built-in security features.
Each coupon will have a unique serial number and an expiry date.
Parents will give the coupons to shopkeepers.
More than 100 shops are involved in the programme and Anthony noted that owners have to satisfy certain criteria to become eligible.
Coupons will be redeemed by shopkeepers for cash at post office outlets, where they must present their registration cards when cashing coupons.
The coupon will then be returned to the head office for reimbursement.
Anthony said the first batch of Sprinkles is expected at the end of the month.
The New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) has the contract to manufacture Sprinkles, the micro-nutrient drug which contains iron, zinc, and vitamin A.
Sprinkles reduces anaemia prevalence in young children six to 24 months, and in pregnant women, focussing on the improvement of compliance with pre and post-natal micro-nutrient supplementation.
Sprinkles has been developed by researchers at the University of Toronto and tested for use with young children in various countries, including Ghana, Kenya and Mongolia.
The powder does not change the colour or taste of food, and has been found to be a more acceptable method of micro-nutrient supplementation among vulnerable groups. (GINA)