Where we stand‎ > ‎Media Releases‎ > ‎


posted 24 Apr 2012, 20:43 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 24 Apr 2012, 20:50 ]
In a media release dated April 24 2012, Peter Wilson, General Secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association stated: 
TTUTA rejects the apparent efforts of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha [SDMS] Board to debar officials of the Association from meeting and treating with its members at SDMS Schools. 

TTUTA Officials, in visiting schools to deliver TTUTA material for the upcoming TTUTA 'Staff Representatives Day' and Staff Representatives’ Elections on April 26 have been prevented from making this delivery or communicating with the current TTUTA Staff Representatives by principals at some SDMS schools. 
These principals have claimed that at a meeting with the Secretary of the SDMS Board, Mr. Sat Maharaj, they received verbal ‘instructions’ that TTUTA officials and/or TTUTA material were not to be allowed into SDMS Schools without the express approval of the Board. 
TTUTA reiterates that denominational schools, including SDMS schools are public schools. While, the land and building in a Denominational school belong to the Board in most cases, the school is a public school under the law, funded by public money. Resources are provided by the State, including, in the main, the initial construction, refurbishing and maintenance of the physical facilities. The teachers are paid by the State and the school is run and supervised by the MOE as part of the public education system. 
A Board cannot claim that it is exercising the right of private ownership to debar anyone from entering a private compound as the school is a public school run by the Ministry of Education {MOE] on a compound offered to the MOE for such purpose by the Board. 
Under the Education Act, TTUTA is the recognized majority union for teachers in the Teaching Service of Trinidad and Tobago and must be recognized by the employer and its agents. TTUTA has the right to meet and treat with its members and cannot be arbitrarily debarred from carrying out its legitimate function. 
The reported instruction of the Secretary of the SDMS Board to principals in SDMS schools is unlawful and seeks improperly to subvert and undermine the role of TTUTA, the legally recognized majority union for members of the Teaching Service in public schools. It strikes at the very heart of union representation for teachers and all workers as enshrined in the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. 
As well, this reported action of the Secretary of the SDMS Board cannot be justified by his claims to validation by a recent judgement of the High Court. That judgement speaks to the rights of the owner of property but also speaks of the guaranteed rights and roles of other institutions under the Constitution in the governance of Denominational schools. Mr. Maharaj quotes selectively from this judgement in a flawed attempt to rationalize his own unlawful positions in firstly attempting to lockout the principal of the Tunapuna SDMS School and now to block TTUTA from treating with its members. 
TTUTA will not allow any such unlawful action of Mr. Maharaj to prevent it from carrying out its sacred duty to its members. The Association will not allow this attack on it and the entire trade union movement to prevail. TTUTA will do all in its power, including legal action in the Courts, if necessary, to ensure that its rights as the majority recognized trade union for members of the Teaching Service are respected and observed. 
In addition, TTUTA calls on the MOE to ensure that its position as employer is not tainted or compromised by the arbitrary, whimsical actions of the Secretary of the SDMS Board. 
TTUTA condemns the Secretary of the SDMS Board in his apparent attempt to block TTUTA from treating with its members at SDMS schools and will not be deterred in any way from legitimately representing its members.