TTUTA takes protest to San Fernando

Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 18:00

De­spite the omi­nous weath­er threat­en­ing to spoil their protest, thou­sands of teach­ers were re­lent­less in voic­ing their dis­con­tent over Gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to amend their salaries since 2014. 

As the red army pro­ceed­ed through the streets of San Fer­nan­do yes­ter­day, there was some traf­fic con­ges­tion and cu­rios­i­ty among shop­pers, pedes­tri­ans and work­ers in their busi­ness­es.

It was the sec­ond leg of the T&T Uni­fied Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pub­lic cam­paign to alert the pub­lic to teacher’s dis­sat­is­fac­tions of the na­tion’s ed­u­ca­tors.

 

In her first ma­jor out­ing as TTUTA pres­i­dent, An­to­nia De Fre­itas said there was dis­con­tent over the Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of their salary ne­go­ti­a­tions, up­grades and in­cre­ments, ap­point­ment, health and safe­ty. 

Teach­ers held a sim­i­lar ac­tion in Port-of-Spain on Oc­to­ber 3.

De Fre­itas said many schools were closed be­cause teach­ers and stu­dents fell ill for var­i­ous rea­sons. Such schools in­clud­ed the San­ta Flo­ra Gov­ern­ment Pri­ma­ry School, Cou­va West Sec­ondary and the Clax­ton Bay An­gli­can Pri­ma­ry School.

While teach­ers dealt with this, she said they strug­gled to sur­vive on 2014 salaries.

While the cost of liv­ing has gone up, they are ex­pect­ed to per­form their du­ties and still dip in­to their pock­ets to sup­ply ma­te­ri­als for the job.

“For far too long our teach­ers and our re­tired teach­ers have suf­fered qui­et­ly. We’ve been pa­tient and we think enough is enough. We think now is the time that we con­tin­ue ac­tion and we step up ac­tion to get all stake­hold­ers on board to re­solve out is­sues.”

As the first woman to lead TTUTA, De Fre­itas hopes that this will em­pow­er the women in a ma­jor­ly fe­male ser­vice.

 

She wants to make women feel they can par­tic­i­pate in union ac­tiv­i­ties in a mean­ing­ful way, there­fore mov­ing from a sys­tem of mass mem­ber­ship to mass par­tic­i­pa­tion.

She said the next step is for the as­so­ci­a­tion to meet with of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tions and the Chief Per­son­nel Of­fi­cer (CPO) to ne­go­ti­ate new terms and con­di­tion and a strat­e­gy to ex­e­cute the changes.

Reporter: Kevon Felmine

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