Officials from GTU and the Education Ministry addressing the media after a meeting last yearTeachers’ salary negotiationsThe Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) is optimistic that the Education Ministry will be able to honour its promises made in the last agreement by next month, to hopefully reinitiate the discussions on teachers’ wages, among others soon.President of the GTU, Mark Lyte in an interview with this publication on Tuesday explained that the Ministry is yet to address certain matters under the last agreement inked in October last year.“Some of the things still being addressed currently [include] the debunching and the clothing allowance will be paid in September. We have the allowance for special needs teachers that is still to be sorted out but we anticipate that sometime in this new term, in September, we should be able to resume our talks,” he noted.Lyte, when asked if he was pleased with the Ministry’s pace of satisfying these obligations, said he realises that the requests made require money, so at this time the Union is patient.“I think we would have wanted to see them being implemented a little faster but having had discussions with the officials they keep saying that they are now looking for the funds to honour these things,” he posited.In February, the Union submitted a proposal to the MoE for a 25 per cent salary increase in wages for public school teachers. GTU proposed that some of the already existing policies be maintained such as Whitley Council for three years, instead of four, and a few others.This proposal also requests that grants be given to schools instead of having materials supplied as complaints have been flagged in the past of sub-standard materials and cleaning supplies.In addition to this, the GTU President disclosed that the Union also requested the maintenance of duty-free concessions in the existing categories.Moreover, the new proposal seeks to extend gratuity for persons leaving the profession before the age of 50 to 55, while the issue of class size for Special Needs Schools was highlighted.Last year, teachers were forced to protest for their wages on the streets of Georgetown, from the beginning of the Christmas term, for several days after being ignored by the Government. GTU finally accepted a 12 per cent increase for 2016 and an eight per cent increase for 2018.According to the agreement seen by Guyana Times, for the year 2016, teachers who earn below $100,000 per month will benefit from a 12 per cent increase while teachers who earn $100,000 and over monthly will gain an eight per cent increase.For the year 2017, teachers who earn below $100,000 per month will get an eight per cent increase and those who earn above this amount will receive a six per cent increase.Meanwhile, for 2018, there will be an across the board eight per cent increase for all teachers.
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WASHINGTON – The House voted Thursday to expand federal hate-crime categories to include violent attacks against gays and people targeted because of gender, acting just hours after the White House threatened a veto. The legislation, passed 237-180, also would make it easier for federal law enforcement to take part in or assist local prosecutions involving bias-motivated attacks. Similar legislation is also moving through the Senate, setting the stage for a possible veto showdown with President George W. Bush. “This is an important vote of conscience, of a statement of what America is, a society that understands that we accept differences,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the only openly gay man in the House, presided over the chamber as the final vote was taken. The House bill would extend hate crimes to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability and give federal authorities greater leeway to participate in hate-crime investigations. It would approve $10 million over the next two years to help cover the cost of hate-crime prosecutions. Federal investigators could step in if local authorities were unwilling or unable to act. But Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that the true intent of the bill was “to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality.” The facts DEFINING HATE: The definition of federal hate crimes would expand to include gays and people targeted because of gender under a bill the House passed Thursday A HURDLE: Hours earlier President George W. Bush threatened to veto the legislation, saying state and local laws cover these types of crimes. FREE SPEECH: Social-conservative groups object to the bill, saying it could inhibit their right to express disapproval of homosexuality.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The vote came after fierce lobbying from opposite sides by civil-rights groups, who have been pushing for years for added protections against hate crimes, and social conservatives, who say the bill threatens the right to express moral opposition to homosexuality and singles out groups of citizens for special protection. The White House said state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes defined under the bill and there was “no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.” It also noted that the bill leaves other classes, such as the elderly, the military and police officers, without similar special status. “Our criminal-justice system has been built on the ideal of equal justice for all,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal but depend on the race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or status of the victim.” Hate crimes under current federal law apply to acts of violence against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color or national origin. Federal prosecutors have jurisdiction only if the victim is engaged in a specific federally protected activity such as voting.