Georgetown, Guyana – (September 29, 2016) President David Granger, today, said that the proposed salary increase, which had been put forward to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) for 2016, is not the same for the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU). The President said that the two negotiations are separate.
“It is not my view that the GTU negotiations were part of the negotiations with GPSU. I would have expected a separate arrangement to be made and I would say that the actual agreement between the Ministry of Education and Guyana Teachers Union should be something which should be kept separate from the GPSU negotiations. We, as the government accept, we acknowledge [and] we observe the collective bargaining agreement and that is how the GPSU agreement was arrived at in the first place…,” President Granger said.
The President said that the payment, when made, is simply a preliminary one, even as the negotiations between the Unions and the Government continue.
“Even with regard to the GPSU the agreement, it’s not a final agreement. The Government of Guyana is still in engagement with the GPSU, so if it’s not final for GPSU, it can’t be final for GTU,” he said.
During the recording of the Ministry of the Presidency’s weekly programme, ‘The Public Interest’, earlier today, the President, in response to questions on whether he would have received correspondence from the Guyana Teacher’s Union on the matter and whether he had engaged the Union, said that he had indeed received the Union’s letter but he believes that the Union should first engage at a Ministerial level with the Ministers in the Ministry of Social Protection.
“As far as the trade union is concerned, yes I have received a letter and I have a Ministry of Social Protection and I would urge that the trade unions engage the Ministers first. It would be imprudent for me to overrule or override or try to deal with the unions without first giving the Minister responsible [a chance to engage]; and they are two Ministers in that Ministry. So it is important for the Trade Unions to engage her first and of course, the Minister who has specific responsibility for industrial relations,” the Head of State posited.
President Granger said that conciliation was not necessary at this time, as he noted that talk between the Union and the government were not discontinued. He cited the fact that there is a menu of measures which have not yet been exhausted. He noted that because of Government’s preparation of the 2017 Budget, talks between the Unions and the Government needed to have reached a certain point by September so that a budget could be prepared, civil servants could get what’s due to them in terms of retroactive pay and talks could have been continued.
“Nobody discontinued the talks. What we did was in response to the mandate by GPSU, we put an offer on the table; there are other things GPSU is asking for, like the debunching and review of the allowances. These things have not been completed as yet. Looking at the pace of discussions, we were not confident that the discussion would be completed in time to allow the government to pay attention to the budget for 2017. So the GPSU is fully aware that these matters are still on the table and the discussions are continuing. It is not a final offer; it is an offer which allows the government to get on with its business and allow the public servants to enjoy the increase in pay to which we feel that they are entitled. We are still talking to the union there’s no reason for conciliation at this stage because we are still engaged, it is not as though the talks are deadlocked but we are willing to move ahead and we can’t have the public servants suffering because of the slow pace of negotiations,” President Granger assured.