High-level Task Force to be Set Up to Examine Teachers’ Concerns


Following Meeting Between President Granger and Teachers’ Union

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Government and the Guyana Teachers’
Union (GTU) Monday agreed to the establishment of a high level task
force that will among other things examine matters relating to the
well-being of teachers and students.

The agreement to establish the task force came following a meeting
between a government delegation headed President David Granger
and the GTU team headed by its first vice president, Lesmeine Collins.
A joint statement issued following the talks noted that the “teachers
will enjoy an interim salary increase ranging from six to eight per cent,
retroactive to January 1, 2017”.

Last Thursday, President Granger called for the meeting with the GTU
after union officials walked out of a meeting with authorities.
But 24 hours later, the GTU and the Minister of State Joseph met “to
discuss the union’s concerns about the lack of progress with regard to
negotiations of salary increases and other non-salary benefits for its

According to the joint statement issued then the GTU had alluded to a
meeting held with the Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, where the
union’s concern regarding the status of salary increases for teachers
that had been proposed since December 2015 “was not being
seriously addressed”.

The statement noted that the “pronouncements by the Hon. Minister of
Education at the meeting were at variance with the union’s
understanding of the Government’s approach to the matter”.

Following the walkout on Thursday, a government statement quoted
Henry as having “informed the GTU representatives that the
Government at this time can only offer wage increases in keeping with
those offered to public servants. Teachers, being public servants,
therefore, will also benefit from the proposed wage increases”.

In the statement Monday, the two sides agreed to the establishment of
the high-level task force by Wednesday and would comprise
comprising representatives from the Ministries of Education, Finance,
Communities, Public Service and Presidency and the GTU.

It said that the task force will hold its first meeting to establish
timelines for its meetings and the completion of its work and that the
union has agreed to provide a complete dossier of its financial and
non-financial submissions by Wednesday.

The statement quoted Granger as proposing that the discussions take
a holistic view on the improvement of the education sector.
“The Task Force will also take account of the findings of the
Commission of Inquiry into the Education Sector in Guyana and other
matters relating to the well-being of teachers and students,” according
to the statement signed by the Education Minister Nicolette Henry and

In the meantime, teachers will enjoy an interim salary increase ranging
from six to eight percent, retroactive to January 1, 2017, the
statement said. – CMC