April 15, 2024

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

Parents, students and civilians join Linden teachers on solidarity march

…….. Boat operators down tools in support of strike action

By Abiola Archer

On Friday, scores of parents and students joined striking teachers in Linden as they continue their daily protest for increase in wages and salaries. Dressed in white, the participants of the well supported march caught the attention of onlookers who also opted to join them on Republic Avenue, Mackenzie, which culminated at the Department of Education. The teachers sang loudly gospel songs, in hopes of the situation ending in their favour. They were also joined by members of the Rastafarian community.

It is now four weeks that teachers are supporting the strike organized by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) in Linden. “We are in for the long haul, we are not giving up, we will continue to brave the sun daily and march on until we are shown the respect we deserve as educators of this soil,” an optimistic New Silvercity Secondary School teacher said.

To show support for the strike, boat operators have agreed to halt operation between 11:00 hrs and 13:00 hrs daily until the teachers’ demands are met by the Ministry of Education. ‘Short Drop’ taxi drivers have also increased their fares from $150,00.00 to $200,00.00, claiming that the strike has significantly decreased their daily income.

Teachers are adamant that the strike is not political but a ‘bread and butter’ issue, given the rapid rise in cost of living. One teacher disclosed that as a Senior Assistant Mistress, her net income is $129,000. ”How can a single parent with three children manage with such an income,” she questioned. One protesting parent said “I believe the teachers should be given more money, all other careers are stemmed for our teachers’ skills.”

Meanwhile on Thursday, Justice Sandil Kissoon ordered mediation between the Government and the Guyana Teachers’ Union.

Senior Counsel Edward Luckhoo and Senior Counsel Robin Stoby were appointed as mediators for the talks at the High Court which commenced on Friday.

According to Justice Kissoon, it is important to address the concerns of the Union, and by extension the teachers, so as to have a full resumption of school.