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TTUTA Pickets in Tobago

posted 28 Jun 2013, 22:29 by Gerry Kangalee


On June 28th 2013, General Secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association, Peter Wilson, issued the following statement:

TTUTA’s General Council met in emergency session on Thursday June 27, 2013 and condemned the tardiness of the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport (DEYAS) of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in its stated inability to pay, by the end of June 2013, the arrears of salaries to teachers in Tobago for the period October 2008 -February 2013, arising out of the new Salary Agreement 2008 - 2011.

The General Council decided to:

• Call on all teachers in Tobago to picket the office of the DEYAS at Dutch Fort, Scarborough, on Tuesday July 02, 2013, beginning at 12 noon;

• Call on all teachers in Tobago, supported by members of the General Council and other teachers from throughout Trinidad and Tobago, to picket the offices of the Chief Administrator and the Chief Secretary at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, on Wednesday July 03, 2013, beginning at 12 noon;

• Hold further pickets of these offices on subsequent days, as deemed necessary;

• Call on all teachers in Trinidad and Tobago to wear RED or TTUTA’s colour on Tuesday July 02 and Wednesday July 03;

Even as teachers in Trinidad have been receiving their arrears at the end of June from the Ministry of Education (MOE), TTUTA rejects the position of the DEYAS that these arrears will not be paid to teachers in Tobago at the end of June but possibly at the end of July or August.

TTUTA reiterates that these arrears represent payments for work already performed by teachers over the past five (5) years in educating the young children of Tobago and fostering the social and economic development of Tobago.

The DEYAS had some six (6) months, since the salary agreement was signed in December 2012, to put all the necessary arrangements in place to ensure the prompt payments of these arrears in June 2013. It is totally unacceptable for the DEYAS to state at this stage that it is unable to satisfy these commitments, owing to administrative issues with the auditing process. The DEYAS cannot be allowed, in effect, to undermine the Salary Agreement reached with the CPO.

Further, this failure to pay these arrears on time fits in with a pattern of occasional late payments of teachers’ salaries in Tobago which has emerged over the past few years. In fact, just this week, the DEYAS failed to pay teachers their monthly salaries for June on the official pay day of Thursday June 27 and teachers were due to receive those salaries today Friday, one day late.

The DEYAS and the THA seem not to see the prompt payment of salary and arrears of salary as a priority, showing scant regard for the property and economic survival of teachers and their families.

TTUTA demands that the arrears of salary owed to teachers in Tobago out of the recent Salary Agreement be paid without undue delay. The debt owed to teachers in Tobago for their work over the past five (5) years must be paid. TTUTA calls on all teachers throughout Trinidad and Tobago to stand ready for further mass action to beat back this lackadaisical and contemptuous approach of the DEYAS of the THA towards teachers.