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posted 21 Sept 2012, 03:06 by Gerry Kangalee
On Tuesday September 18, the Trinidad and Tobago Teachers Union (TTUTA) issued the following statement.

TTUTA renews its call on the Chief Personnel Officer [CPO] to act with a sense of urgency and negotiate a prompt, just settlement of teachers’ salaries.

TTUTA’s General Council met in emergency session Monday September 17 and bolstered by the presence of thousands of teachers marching in the streets of Port of Spain on Friday September 07 as well as the reflections of some 12,000 teachers [80% - 90%] on Thursday September 13 and Friday September 14, the Council is prepared to take further strong action to ensure teachers’ economic survival.

The General Council was mindful of the CPO’s proposed whole day negotiating session on Friday September 21, based on her promised submission of measures towards finalization of the salaries of the comparator jobs. It mandated TTUTA’s Negotiation Team to continue negotiating in good faith with the CPO on this Friday, as it has done on virtually every Friday for over two and a half years, since March 2010, towards completing the External Labour Market [ELM] Survey and finalizing a just salary for teachers, based on the ELM figures.

This data-driven, systematic approach to the negotiation of suitable teacher salaries has been used successfully and skillfully over the past three [3] rounds of negotiations, each of which has been completed in about one [1] year.

TTUTA will not allow this process to be distorted and manipulated by the CPO in order to impose small salary increases on teachers.

Thousands of teachers have strengthened their resolve and stand ready for further action and reflection in the days and weeks ahead if no rapid, meaningful progress is made. The CPO cannot continue with her intransigence and time-wasting tactics!

TTUTA maintains that money spent on education is an investment in national development, especially in a period of economic diversification and recovery. Poor and non-competitive teacher salaries will lead to teacher shortages and a rapid deterioration in the quality of education. Teachers will be unable to nurture, inspire and challenge the nation’s children to excellence in the schools.

Teachers cannot continue to cope with the rising cost of living in 2012 on 2008 salaries. Teachers are owed a debt in salaries for their work over the past five [5] years. This debt cannot be overlooked, ignored or dismissed through the stalling of the CPO.

The CPO must stop the deliberate delay and negotiate in good faith towards a prompt, just settlement of teachers’ salaries based on the ELM figures, so that teachers can fully and comfortably return to their critical role in national development.