CPO concerned over planned absenteeism by teachers
By DARCEL CHOY Tuesday, September 11 2012
The Chief Personnel Officer (CPO), Stephanie Lewis yesterday expressed concern with planned absenteeism by teachers on Thursday and Friday.
Teachers will take the two days to “rest and reflect” on the progress, or “lack thereof”, in negotiations.
Negotiations for the new collective bargaining period 2009-2011 have been taking place between the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) and Lewis since last year.
Last Friday teachers participated in a Joint Trade Union Movement’s (JTUM) march through the streets of Port-of-Spain, and classrooms at several schools across the country were without teachers.
In a statement yesterday, Lewis explained that since July 2010, the CPO and TTUTA have been meeting to determine revised salaries for teachers for the period October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2011. The discussions have centred on the review of the methodology utilised since 2000 to determine revised salaries. This was in keeping with the terms of a Letter of Understanding signed on October 2, 2007 by the CPO and TTUTA, for a comprehensive review of the methodology utilised in the past.
Lewis said discussions have been continuing at the weekly meetings of the parties and significant progress has been made to date, with agreement being reached on the following:
• nine principles to govern the revision of salaries;
• the teaching jobs to be used as benchmarks in the Market Survey;
• the list of organisations to be used in the Market Survey; and
• the list of comparator jobs to be used in the Market Survey.
An agreement on the list of organisations to be used was reached on June 15, 2012 while the list of comparator jobs was agreed to on August 24, 2012.
Discussions are currently being held on the salaries of comparator jobs which are to be used in respect of the last year of the teachers’ salary agreement, that is, October 2010 to 2011 to derive revised salaries for the period, 2008 to 2011.
She said once an agreement was reached on the salaries of comparator jobs to be used, the parties must determine the formula to be used to derive at the actual salaries to be paid to teachers, for the period. Lewis said she remained committed to working with TTUTA to conclude an agreement on revised salaries for teachers, which is acceptable to both parties, bearing in mind the financial and economic realities currently faced by Trinidad and Tobago.
Also releasing a statement yesterday on teachers’ wage negotiations was Education Minister, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who met with Public Administration Minister, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, to discuss the negotiations in an attempt to stave off the days of rest and reflection
He said in the interest of the teachers, he consulted with Seepersad-Bachan on the matter, and has been advised that in-house discussions of TTUTA with the CPO, have been taking place, and negotiations are continuing, with a meeting of TTUTA and the CPO scheduled for Friday.
Gopeesingh expressed confidence that while these negotiations were ongoing, the nation’s teachers will continue to show dedication and commitment to the students, who fall under their charges. In addition, they will always ensure that the welfare of the children and education sector remain their priority.