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