Guyanese government condemns teachers’ strike over mandatory COVID vaccination

The Guyanese government condemned the decision by teachers to notice the call of their Union to begin on three-day strike action on Wednesday. The government has described this action of the teachers union as irresponsible and added that it is not reflective of the realities of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic nor the needs of the nation's children.

Guyana: The Guyanese government condemned the decision by teachers to notice the call of their Union to begin on three-day strike action on Wednesday. The government has described this action of the teachers union as irresponsible and added that it is not reflective of the realities of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic nor the needs of the nation’s children.

GTU has called out the teachers on the second day of the new school term over the government’s COVID-19 vaccination policy and the unpreparedness of many schools to return to face-to-face classes.

GTU has filed a lawsuit against the government’s policy and has accused the authorities of being high-handed in its approach while ignoring teachers’ concerns. The Union has also advised that teachers would be on strike for the next three days from all types of teaching, including virtual sessions.

The Union says that teachers should be permitted to have a choice to be vaccinated, and if they do not want to get vaccinated, the Ministry of Education should stand the costs for the regular PCR COVID-19 test that it is demanding if a teacher is not vaccinated. ‘

On the other hand, the Ministry of Education has stated that it has taken note of the uncaring & unconscionable call for strike action by the – GTU and added that the Ministry condemns this action as irresponsible.

The Ministry added, “We want all of our children engaged and in school and are working towards achieving this safely. There is no compulsory essential for children to be vaccinated to return to classrooms.”

The Ministry further noted that the teachers had been allowed the status of a most valuable resource, and teachers were paid their full salary and benefits throughout the 17 months.

The re-opening of schools appears amid a new surge in COVID-19 cases, with the country reporting 654 deaths and 26,772 positive cases since March since last year.