TTUTA: ECA can’t wish away our rights
Friday, September 21 2012
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) yesterday reiterated its rejection of the Employers Consultative Association (ECA) suggestion, that teachers were acting outside of the law.
On Wednesday, the ECA said teachers faced a $500 fine and three months imprisonment if they were found to be in contravention of Section 69 of the Industrial Relations Act, which states that members of the Teaching Service shall not take part in any industrial action.
TTUTA noted that teachers were entitled to occasional leave under the Education Act in order to attend to urgent, personal business. It said this entitlement has been in the country’s laws for years and “cannot be wished away” by the ECA.
The association added that teachers, as citizens, have the right to actively engage in collective bargaining for salaries and other terms and conditions of service.
It expressed regret in the response of the ECA which it said occurs every time teachers, or other workers take action in the pursuit of better salaries and terms and conditions of service.
TTUTA suggested the ECA appeal to Government as an employer to recognise the importance of education to the development of the country’s human resource, and the central role of teachers in the delivery of quality education.
The association said the ECA has ignored that TTUTA has been in negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) for more than two years, during which it has continued to insist on a data-given approach for the negotiation of teachers’ salaries, involving the use of an External Labour Market (ELM) Survey, consequent upon a job evaluation exercise done since 2000.
“Thousands of teachers have shown they will not hesitate to take the necessary action to convince the CPO of the justness of their case.
“The CPO must stop the stalling and negotiate in good faith towards a prompt, just settlement of teachers’ salaries, based on the ELM figures,” he said.