Newly installed TTUTA president, Antonia De Freitas, says teachers will continue to make their displeasure known to the government, over their poor working conditions and the fact that their salary negotiations have stalled.
Roughly 2,500 teachers from across the country took to the streets of San Fernando, yesterday afternoon, to send a message to the Chief Personnel Officer that it was time to get back to the negotiating table.
The teachers union boss says teachers are still living on 2013 salaries, and are working in schools which are under-resourced—and in some cases, may even need to be condemned.
She says they have had enough.
“We exist in a political environment that is interconnected. So when teachers say ‘we have had enough and we are going to take care of our business as we see fit’, the parents feel pressured,” she says. “At the end of the day, what we want is that public pressure on the authorities.”
Ms De Freitas also told us ensuring teachers have a safe working environment is one of her executive team’s top priorities.
She says the education ministry needs to have a proper maintenance schedule in place, to ensure all schools can re-open on time for each new term.
She also expressed concern that there are roughly 30 schools—six of them closed outright—which are unhealthy environments, but which the OSH Agency has given an all clear to occupy.
“Edinburgh 500 for example, Claxton Bay Junior Anglican Primary, Union Claxton Bay secondary, and Couva West Secondary,” she points out, “are schools that have health and safety issues with either pigeon droppings, or infestations due to mould in the environment, and teachers and students have become ill.”
“Meanwhile,” the TTUTA president says, “the OSH Agency is telling us that’s not injurious and won’t cause imminent danger. But the fact that teachers and students have to seek medical treatment means that it is hazardous to health.”
The teachers’ union boss promises that teachers won't be irresponsible while demanding their rights.
She says they understand the importance of making up lost class time with their students.
Story by NEWS DESK