In light of the recent vigil outside of the residences of President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, where members of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) gathered to voice their displeasure at various issues affecting teachers, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on Government to act on the demands put forward by the Union.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeIn a statement on Friday, Jagdeo declared that the parliamentary Opposition supports the Teachers’ Union in its demand for a confirmation of an urgent meeting between the Union and Government.Furthermore, he also urged Government to respect previous commitments made by the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government with the GTU under the Five-Year Multi-Year Agreement. To this end, the Opposition Leader called for an urgent resolution to the teachers’ demands, including respect for the specific agreements concluded under the now expired multi-year agreement, including the duty-free concessions and treatment of the Whitley Council leave.“The urgency of these issues cannot be over-emphasised. The delinquency of the Government with regards to these important issues affecting the teachers of this country is unacceptable,” Jagdeo posited.Tuesday night’s vigil saw dozens of teachers turning up outside the Prime Minister’s home to air a host of issues that teachers are not happy with. The action organised by the GTU saw Union officials meeting briefly with Prime Minister Nagamootoo, who was acting President.Following the meeting, the Prime Minister assured the teachers that he would discuss their plights with Cabinet. In the meantime, he asked the GTU to submit a “structured presentation” on the issues they want Government to address.“As a member of Cabinet and as Prime Minister, I cannot give an answer to all the issues raised. I have said I will raised them with the relevant Ministers and what we can have is some engagement, to have discussions and dialogue. I don’t believe the answer is to turn our backs on you; you have issues and we have to listen. If we can’t solve these matters now, we should work together to find some solutions,” he told those gathered outside his home.Meanwhile, prior to the meeting, GTU President Mark Lyte explained that when the 2015 agreement ended that year, a proposal was immediately submitted to Government and just over a year later, there has been no active effort to have another agreement, despite several discussions with the Education Ministry.“The time is going and our teachers are affected. We have not had any increase in salary significantly, other than the imposed 10 and six per cent given to public servants. While we believe that teachers would have accepted the increases, it’s not the amount we initially wanted or negotiated for,” he pointed out.The GTU President also spoke about benefits that are outstanding for teachers within that same multi-year agreement, including duty-free concessions, clothing allowances, out of town allowances, and station and hard line allowances.According to Lyte, there is a list of teachers, some of whom have since retired, who were eligible between the periods 2008 to 2013 for duty-free concessions, but are yet to receive same.“We have not heard anything – it went back and forth between the Ministry of the Presidency and GTU and the Ministry of Education, and it’s now stalled somewhere at GRA. We are still saying that those teachers must be given their outstanding duty-free,” the Union Head asserted.Moreover, he added too that a proposal was sent to the Education Ministry for teachers to have their ‘Whitley Council leave’ every three years, instead of four and for the payments to be given at a specific time. “What we have is a willying, nilly disbursement of weekly council’s monies,” he stated.Lyte also spoke about de-bunching, pointing out that the Education Minister had signed onto this, saying a proposal was made to Cabinet for teachers to be paid de-bunching money between 2011 and 2015.“Until now, none has been paid out and so we are out here saying, that we are unhappy. Our teachers are not happy and an unhappy teacher in the classroom is an unproductive teacher. Unfortunately, our teachers are unhappy because of the meagre salaries they are receiving, because the fact that nobody seems to be concerned other than verbally saying teachers are important,” he noted.The Union Head further addressed other matters affecting teachers, such as working conditions are some schools and the issue of promotions. On this note, Lyte called for the current Teaching Service Commission (TSC) to be dissolved, noting that this current body is further frustrating teachers.Nevertheless, the Commission on Thursday invited the Union to a meeting, where the teachers’ representative body is expected to push for two sets of promotions this year. The meeting comes two months after the High Court ruled that the procedure used by the TSC to promote teachers was flawed and must be corrected.