A former Minister has come out swinging at the delay in giving teachers a salary increase; noting that based on statistics, the average salary in the Ministry of the Presidency has gone up by 40 per cent.This is according to economist and former Housing Minister, Irfaan Ali, who noted there are parts of the Government bureaucracy where there were excessive salary increases in contract workers.“Take for example, the Ministry of the Presidency, the Department of Project Development and Administration, from 2017 to 2018, reduced the number of contracted staff reduced by 86 to 213… yet salaries reduced by a mere $4.7 million, for the entire year. This meagre decline in salaries corresponds to an increase in average salary by more than 40 per cent or from $223,790 to $312,289, monthly.”Another example used by the Member of Parliament was in the areas of defence and national security. Ali explained that contracted staff reduced by one, yet, inexplicable, salaries increased by $5.9 million.“When compared to 2017, average monthly salaries of contracted staff, it was found, increased from $230,798 to $256,752, or by 12 per cent.”“Under the Public Service Management, from 2017-2018, contracted staff declined by two, while salaries increased by $39.5 million. In other words, average salaries under contracted employees, increased from $190,829 to $280,136, or 99.9 per cent.”According to Ali, the Citizenship Ministry and Immigration Services reduced its number of contracted staff by 74 from 2017 to 2018. Despite this, he pointed out that salaries increased by more than $31 million. Ali stated that when compared to 2017, average monthly salary increased from $65,860 to $251,086, or 312 per cent.Ali contrasted all these increases with the salary scales teachers currently work with. For untrained teachers, he noted that they are paid a net salary of $65,000. For teachers trained at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), he placed their salary at $85,000.In addition, Ali noted that for teachers trained at both CPCE and the University of Guyana, their net salary scales rested at $120,000. He described the situation as a heinous one, when living expenses including at least $28,000 in food is considered.“Thus, a bit reprioritisation of resources could easily increase fiscal space by more than $6.7 billion, which is enough to address the $4 billion or 40 per cent increase in salaries of our teacher, without compromising any developmental project.”With pressure mounting on the Education Ministry, it finally decided to give into the Guyana Teachers’ Union’s (GTU) call for arbitration.The decision was made on Thursday during the second round of conciliation talks between the two parties, held in the boardroom of the Social Cohesion’s Ministry, Department of Labour on Brickdam, Georgetown.This process will see the two parties both agreeing on an independent body, to address the issues affecting teachers at present.The Union is seeking agreements of 40 per cent increases on each year from 2016 to 2020, but Government has stressed that this request is just not feasible for the over 10,000 teachers in the system.