Category : fofabvlic
As conflict continues to surround the $350 million allocated to debunching monies for teachers by the Education Ministry, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) has observed another red flag, which in this case is affecting hundreds of teachers in two administrative regions.This is according to the General Secretary of the Union, Coretta McDonald.She explained that teachers in Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) have complained that they have not yet received any payments, although debunching monies were promised to be paid in December 2018 and January 2019.GTU General SecretaryCoretta McDonaldA similar issue unfolded over in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region) where payments had begun but were later stalled. McDonald said that an explanation into these occurrences is yet be made by the Ministry.She said, “In Region Three, we had payments started but I’m not sure what the hiccup was, whether they did not have enough funds or what…but I know payments had started and it stopped…it’s an issue that we are following with the central Ministry as well as the Regional Department because the regions are all decentralised so every region will have their budget to cater for payments to salary and increases”.In this regard, the General Secretary posited that meetings were held with the officials in Regions Nine and One where the Union was told that “they were putting the systems in place to start the process”.GTU President Mark LyteShe said that she is hopeful that the issue is sorted out by the end of the week so that payments can begin as early as next week Monday.Just under a week ago, the President of the GTU, Mark Lyte, indicated to this newspaper that some teachers were only paid part of their debunching monies in December.The President informed that teachers received a payment in December 2018, which was the eight per cent on the old 2017 salary. Another interim payment, he said, was made for 2016 and 2017 at one time which was ten and eight per cent and then an eight and a six per cent.Lyte explained, “Ten and eight (per cent) for 2016 and eight and six (per cent) for 2017, so now with the new arrangement that we had, in terms of the increase, we agreed that 2016 would get a 12 per cent and a 10 per cent so it means that those persons who had already received an interim would get two per cent more. As a result of that two per cent, it means that 2016 two per cent would trigger an increase of two per cent for 2017 and also another two per cent for 2018, so that amount was to be paid in January”.Although that payout was expected, teachers were surprised when they checked their accounts to find that those amounts were not added.It was only on October 24, 2018, that the GTU signed an agreement with the Education Ministry to accept a 12 per cent increase in salaries for 2016 and an eight per cent increase for 2018.According 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.Wages increase proposalIn relation to the salary increase proposal submitted by the GTU some two weeks ago to the Education Ministry, McDonald noted that the Department is yet to make contact with the Union to set up a date for initial discussions.According to her, “I guess we will have to follow up with them because they have not yet responded to us to say whether we are gonna have a meeting… so we will have to be the ones to police it to find out how early we are going to have that meeting”.Earlier in February, the Union submitted a proposal for a 25 per cent increase in salary for public school teachers.The proposal also requests that grants be given to schools instead of having materials supplied as complaints have been flagged in the past of sub-standard materials and cleaning supplies, among others.No-Confidence Vote and GTUThe General Secretary of the GTU said that the Union does not see how the motion of No-Confidence can affect their plea for a wage increase.She explained, “We have a 2019 budget and proposals for salaries was already made in the 2019 budget which they submitted since last year so we don’t see the whole issue with the confidence/no-confidence motion as one that will affect the flow of the operations of the Ministry because the Ministers are just political heads but the rest of the Ministry they are all public servants so we don’t see anything with this motion as being or having anything to do with stalling our negotiations process”.She added that the Permanent Secretaries of each Ministry is usually equipped with the power to start negotiations, however, the Union still has some concerns.We’re concerned about it too because it doesn’t, with regards to salaries, it shouldn’t have implications for salaries and the negotiations process but if we have a country that is not stable that can definitely affect what is happening”.Nonetheless, the Union representative said she is hoping for stability so that no unwarranted actions such as protests and vandalism takes place.Similar views were shared by the GTU President during a recent interview.