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posted 29 Nov 2012, 23:35 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 30 Nov 2012, 02:09 by Dave Smith ]
Thousands of burgundy and red-clad teachers, members of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), and their supporters responded to their union’s call on Thursday 29th November and descended on Port of Spain in a powerful collective show of strength.

They marched through the streets of the capital city, racking up the pressure on the government to settle their 2008-2011 negotiations by closing the gaps identified in the external labour market survey and specifically reje
cting the attempt to fob them off with a measly 8% wage increase.

Largely female, spanning the full age range, they came from all corners of the republic: from the South East, the East, Victoria, Caroni, the West, Port of Spain and Tobago. On this day they were not urban, rural, primary, secondary, male, female, Indian, African, Other, PNM, UNC, COP. They were simply teachers! 

They vented the pent up steam of their years of frustration, sang, chanted, danced and shouted as they snaked their way through the narrow streets, under the nervous watch of dozens of police officers. After all, like a particular emaciated university professor they were clearly a threat to the security of the state…

The march began at Independence Square and proceeded in good humour. They paranged the office of the Chief Personnel Officer with chants chiding “Madam CPO” for wanting teachers to “beg for food” and for her “improper offer”. (See video)
As the march headed back downtown the mood became increasingly militant until the chant became “No money, No school!”

Having upped the ante, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see what the next step is going to be as the teachers’ union intensifies its campaign for a just and fair salary settlement.