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Representatives of the Education Ministry and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) met on Friday to discuss the ongoing processing of back pay to teachers.
The meeting took place at the ministry on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain. In a statement, the ministry said its team was led by permanent secretary Jacqueline Charles. Other s who took part were acting permanent secretary Simone Williams and deputy permanent secretary Wilson Henderson Jr.
The union was led by its president Martin Lum Kin.
The meeting sought to address concerns raised by TTUTA on outstanding payments to active members and an update on when payments will be made to retired teachers.
Charles told Lum Kin and his team considerable progress has been made, with 97 per cent or 12, 467 teachers already receiving their back pay as of January 12, including 923 teachers who received their arrears outside the December 19 salary.
The ministry said another 1,357 teachers will receive back pay with their January salaries.
Charles said there are teachers with human resource issues and they would be advised in advance to manage their expectations.
She added that processing payments to retirees will start when payment to active teachers is completed.
While thankful for the progress made to date, Lum Kin requested for the union to receive more frequent updates on the progress of the exercise.
Charles promised to do so.
In his budget presentation in the House of Representatives on September 26, Finance Minister Colm Imbert promised public-sector workers would receive their back pay by Christmas.
At a news conference last November, Imbert said the payment was limited to those public-sector organisations which, through their unions, had accepted the four per cent increase offer the government made in June 2022.
Those unions represented the defence force, which included the Army, Coast Guard and Air Guard; the Fire Services Association; the Prison Services Association; and TTUTA.