ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) says an estimated 1 800 teachers employed by the government will receive a 13 percent increase in salary for the period 2023-25.
The new collective agreement was signed Wednesday and was witnessed by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, who used the occasion to thank members of the teaching profession for the role there are playing in society.
“Having a formal education system is fundamental to a civilized society for our growth and development, and in the absence of teachers, that simply cannot happen,” said Finance Minister Mitchell.
“I think it’s a fundamental difference that teachers play. No amount of money or fringe benefits can genuinely show appreciation for that.
“Too often industrial relations are characterized by strife, and we have to get to the point where we can have healthy differences, we can debate, we can disagree, but we have to find a way where we can recognize that the teachers are members of the GUT, but the teachers are ultimately our staff, they are the staff of the state, and so ultimately we must be as fair as we can for them,” he said.
GUT President, Jude Bartholomew, described the signing as historic, noting that it is the only time in recent memory that a new collective agreement was being signed within four months.
“Historically, the Grenada Union of Teachers and other unions most of the time had to march on the streets, go through the labor commissioner or commission a process for mediation and other things for salary increase. We note this time. We record that this is a historical moment that we appreciate and recognize,” he said.
He said the new agreement only covers some things initially requested.
“We may never be able to get all that you want and hope to, but at the same time, when you come together and negotiate, we can come to a common understanding when you are at a perfect place,” he said.
Bartholomew said that for the 2023 -24 period, teachers will receive a four percent increase and a five percent for 2025. He said the fringe benefits in the new agreement would also result in an increase in financial compensation for extracurricular work, including the marking of School-Based Assessment scripts
The Government Negotiating Team has not concluded negotiations with the other four other unions representing other public sector workers.