TTUTA: 75 per cent of teachers protested Thursday, more action to come

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THE TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is hailing its planned protest on Thursday – by asking that teachers only report to work for the second half of the school day – as a success. But it is also warning the office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) that more serious demonstrations will be done if it continues to be silent.

TTUTA was recently offered a four per cent increase in salaries, along with other trade unions, but rejected the offer. Since then, it has been calling on CPO Dr Daryl Dindial to meet with it to negotiate further.

After an internal meeting, TTUTA decided that if Dindial did not respond by Monday, teachers would protest. And so said, so done.

TTUTA first vice president Marlon Seales told Newsday Thursday’s protest was “very successful.

“We got – at our last check – we got support between 70-75 per cent of teachers (participating). We have some estimates coming in going as high as 78 per cent.”

He said there was a low turnout of students, so much so that some schools dismissed their students by midday.

But he said the union is still disappointed.

“We haven’t heard anything from the office of the CPO. We still haven’t heard anything.

“The general council would have mandated that we take further action. The details of that will be coming out very shortly and we will communicate with our members by the end of the day.”

He said a “second step” will be planned.

“With all that being said, the association stands ready to re-engage the CPO in bilateral talks around the negotiating table.”

“We are asking for the conversation that is mandated by the industrial relations act – that is all we are asking for.”

He said the office of the CPO must stop negotiating through correspondence and be direct.

“When he puts an offer in an envelope and we take it away, there’s no conversation like that.

“We want to go around the table where he can clearly articulate his position, where we can articulate our position and have some meeting ground in the middle – that kind of thing.

“We are troubled by the silence coming out of the office of the CPO. Nevertheless, we continue to persist and we are asking the CPO to consider what the disruptions in the education system may do to the nation’s children.”