GTU’s request for 20 per cent pay hike during COVID is unfair – GS Jagdeo

– Calls out Opposition for duplicity

Negotiations between the government and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) have resumed, and according to General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, the GTU is requesting adjustments in the wages and salaries, dating back to 2017, during the APNU+AFC Coalition’s tenure in office.

“That’s important for the country to know,” Dr Jagdeo pointed out.

The GS was at the time addressing media operatives during his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Thursday, where he said that called attention to the duplicitous nature of the opposition.

Dr Jagdeo reminded that the opposition has signalled their support for the illegal strike, even as they failed to address these very issues during their time in office.

“It’s duplicity on the part of APNU, shedding crocodile tears for the teachers now, when for the majority of their term in government, they have not dealt with these issues that the teachers are raising now. The second thing is the duplicitous nature of the general secretary of the union, who is also a representative of APNU,” he explained.

Additionally, the GS said that on the issue of salaries and wages, the GTU is requesting a 20 per cent increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He recalled that during the pandemic, schools were closed for about two years, during which teachers were not required to attend school.

“There was a phased opening, so that’s the extreme. Some teachers had to go back earlier. But, even those years, the COVID years, the request is for a 20 per cent increase in those years, when the majority of the teachers did not have to go into the classrooms or work,” he said.

Dr Jagdeo continued, “When you talk about fairness, you should look at all of these variables.”

However, he expressed that the government’s position on this matter will be made clear at the negotiation table with the GTU.

These negotiations follow a court-ordered mediation process, during which the government and the GTU agreed that teachers would return to their classrooms to allow for continued dialogue to address their needs.

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