GTU’s Coretta McDonald raps Ali government’s avoidance of collective bargaining, calls actions “bullyism”

-“The announcement by the president we have concluded is premature, insensitive, anti-working class, unprincipled”

A day after President Irfaan Ali announced a raft of measures aimed at bringing some relief to some Guyanese battered by the high cost of living, several reliefs were also announced for some categories of teachers, including “salary adjustments”.  “The President has again employed the use of his unilateral and the divide and rule strategy which runs contrary to the process of collective bargaining as is enshrined in the Constitution of this dear land of ours, which, of course, the president uses at his convenience,” the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) said in an address on Meta’s Facebook and YouTube.

McDonald stated, “This act of hypocrisy is dangerous to good government and must never be allowed to nest. The members of the Guyana Teachers Union, condemn this act of the President, who has seen it fit to bypass the executive of the Union but is happy to steal bits from the GTU’s proposal to tweak same, then come out with his usual unimpressive rantings to give the impression that his government is caring.”

President Irfaan Ali announced a raft of measures aimed at bringing some relief to some Guyanese battered by the high cost of living

The GTU President Mark Lyte held similar views as reported by other news entities. The state papers reported the Union leader as saying, “The GTU noticed that the government has been incrementally addressing proposed matters outlined in our submitted multi-year proposal. We believe that the collective bargaining process would have enabled us (government and union) to arrive at a consensus early so that teachers would have had a clear understanding of their benefits.”

McDonald in her terse address noted that “It is important to remind all that it was this very President Ali who, when he sat in the Opposition benches a few years ago, echoed the call for the return of Collective Bargaining, but now is doing quite the opposite. It is also important to note that at the same time when he was making his presentation, it wasn’t for some teachers, but he was speaking for all teachers.”

GTU General  Secretary viewed the President’s unilateral actions aimed at “union busting and divisiveness” and stated “he must be put on notice that the GTU is one big family and at no time would we allow this regime to sow seeds of discord amongst us. The announcement by the president we have concluded is premature, insensitive, anti-working class, unprincipled, and in our minds, is just an ill-calculated jump from the roof, which forces one to ask questions: Why is the president afraid of collective bargaining? Why is the president trying to demean teachers as if we have an animal farm in operation? Is this the president’s way of rewarding teachers who have been toiling from sunrise to sunset, making sacrifices beyond the call of duty, and on many occasions neglecting their own families?”, GS McDonald quizzed.

“It is a shame that President Ali is unaware of the hardships that teachers face and to throw $25,000 at us. As he has termed it a bonus is total eye pass while others have received 40,000 and 250,000 as grants. We totally reject this act of bullyism and therefore call on the president to rethink his approach and to allow for the process of collective bargaining to resume, which is an act of respecting the laws of Guyana,” GTU’s General Secretary stated.