GTU has learnt its lesson – Mark Lyte

first_imgTeachers’ wages impasse…looking forward to a better pact in 2019…as agreement finally signedPresident of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, who on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Education Ministry for a 12 per cent increase for 2016 and an eight per cent increase for 2018, has noted that the Union has learnt its lesson and is looking forward to brokering a better agreement come 2019.He made this statement while addressing media operatives at the Ministry’s 26 Brickdam, Georgetown office after the two agencies inked the agreement to raise public school teachers’ salaries.“We recognise that, as a Union, there are several things that we would have requested that were not granted, but nonetheless we believe that it’s a work in progress to go forward. We look forward to a new agreement in the new phase in 2019 that we can have more benefits given to our teachers, but looking at the present agreement we believe that our teachers are going to benefit from outstanding clothing allowances, they’re gunna benefit from increases that dates back to 2016,” Lyte said.Moreover, the GTU President pointed out that the Union has “learnt so many lessons” and is now better prepared for the next bargaining process with the Education Ministry.He explained that he believes the agreement made will better satisfy teachers and their families and even result in classrooms being better serviced.On the other hand, General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times said she believes the Union should have been more diligent in its doings.“As a Union we needed to do a little more work, we needed to be a little more diligent in what we were doing, but it’s a learning experience and come 2019 ourPermanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Adele Clarke and GTU President, Mark Lyte signs the agreement as other officials from both sides look onteachers, if it’s going to be a three-year or a five-year agreement, our teachers will see many more benefits coming their way,” she stated.McDonald pointed out that the GTU has been working along a with a team to put their documents forward for arbitration and is seeking to have their draft proposal for 2019 ready by the first week in December to submit to the Education Ministry.“Those teachers who would have felt neglected over the past years and they weren’t being able to gain access to their benefits, I want to say to them rest assured GTU has been there for you, we will continue to be there for you and your benefits are intact,” she added.Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson told reporters that the Ministry looks forward to working with the GTU in future. “I think the signing today is symbolic that we intend to have a working relationship with all our stakeholders, all our partners and we consider the Union to be an integral part of what we do the Ministry of Education…we intend to work with all of our partners including the Union that we consider to be maybe our greatest partners in this process.”IncreasesAccording to the agreement seen by Guyana Times, for the year 2016, teachers who earn below $100,000 per month will benefit from a 12 per cent increase while teachers who earn $100,000 and over monthly will gain an eight per cent increase.For the year 2017, teachers who earn below $100,000 per month will get an eight per cent increase and those who earn above this amount will receive a six per cent increase.Meanwhile, for 2018, there will be an across the board eight per cent increase for all teachers.Non-salary issuesWith regard to non-salary issues, teachers will continue to receive the approved rates for improved qualifications, the agreement said. These include $4000 for certificate in education, $6000 for diploma in education, $10,000 for a Master’s degree; $30,000 for a doctoral degree and $10,000 for special needs teachers.In addition to an $8000 per annum uniform allowance, “Increases for clothing, station/hard lying, risk and travelling allowances will be considered in line with the review of these allowances for the wider public service,” the agreement says.Duty-free concessionsIn keeping with the agreement, teachers will be granted the opportunity of having 100 duty-free concessions per annum for vehicles up to 1800cc. All-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) and outboard engines up to 75HP will be granted to eligible teachers in the riverine and hinterland areas.The agreement explains the criterions required for all heads, principles and deputy heads, deputy principles, head mistresses and masters or administrators of the various grades of school.Hinterland benefitsAccording to the new contract, teachers and their families who serve in the interior will be given a “return fare to the coastland” once per term and teachers who are from one area in the hinterland but serve in another area will benefit from this initiative.HousingAlong with a number of other issues, the two also agreed that a committee of six persons will be established to prepare a position paper on the granting of house lots to teachers revolving loan fund, the agreement stated.Although fewer smiles were seen on the faces of the GTU executives when they accepted the offer, Lyte told Guyana Times that the Union is satisfied with the amount being given to teachers.It was explained by him that the increases for teachers will be paid in two tranches. “The increases are going to be paid in two tranches because you know what teachers receive in 2016 would have an impact on 2017 and 2018, so we are going to have payments being done in December and payments being done in January 2019.” (Davina Ramdass)last_img read more