Parents, students uncertain of classes – Will teachers reflect again on Monday?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly. –

FOR THE second time this month, there is uncertainty over whether or not the nation’s teachers will be out to classes in primary and secondary schools as the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) has called for yet another day for educators to stay home to reflect.

In an internal memo last Friday – a copy of which was sent to Newsday – a TTUTA executive member called on teachers to “reflect” on Monday over stalled salary negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO.)

On Monday September 5, according to TTUTA, more than 70 per cent of the nation’s teachers heeded a call to stay home on that day to “rest and reflect” on the break down in negotiations, leading to many schools throughout the country calling for an end to classes early as there were no teachers to supervise students.

On that day, 305,000 students and 30,100 teachers were expected out, but according to the Ministry of Education, only 3,243 teachers turned up to work.

TTUTA head Antonia De Freitas. –

TTUTA hailed those teachers who heeded the call to stay home as it was meant to send a message to CPO Darryl Dindial, and by extension, the Government, that it was not happy with the stalled negotiations.

The union warned of further action to let those in authority know how it feels about the four per cent salary increase offered by the CPO.

Last Thursday, teachers were told to come to work for only the second half of that school day as a means of protesting the “disrespect” from Dindial. TTUTA officials said the second act of protest came after Dindial failed to meet a deadline to respond to the union’s request for the resumptiopn of face-to-face negotiations.

TTUTA’s first vice president Marlon Seales told Newsday that 75 per cent of teachers heeded the call to work only half day last Thursday.

And now, in its third act of protest, the union has called on teachers to stay home on Monday. According to a report in Newsday’s Saturday edition, the internal memo to teachers last Friday stated, “On Monday September 26 (Budget Day), reflect on what a 2022 budget could mean on your 2014 salary.”

Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial. FILE PHOTOS –

Seales, according to that Newsday article, warned that if the CPO continues to ignore the union’s call further disruptions in the education sector will be seen.

Teachers and their union are agitating for a return to a formula used in previous collective bargaining negotiations, to calculate enhanced remuneration packages for various classes of teachers, rather than the Government, through the CPO, giving a blanket four per cent salary increase offer, in line with what has been offered to workers in other branches of the public service.