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Union wants to help ECCE teachers

Wednesday, December 18 2013

ALTHOUGH it is not the recognized bargaining unit for the Early Childhood Care & Education, (ECCE) teachers, the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is exploring legal options regarding the regularization of ECCE teachers by the Ministry of Education.

In an interview on Monday , TTUTA president, Davanand Sinanan, said the decision was made after a meeting with ECCE teachers at Chaguanas North secondary school, Chaguanas.

He pointed out that the ECCE teachers were being offered individual ‘letters of engagement’ by the Ministry of Education as part of its regularization process, and noted that they were not able to have either a Union representative, or their attorney peruse the letter.

‘When the ECCE teachers attempted to get a TTUTA representative to sit in, then Ministry told us that we don’t have bargaining status so this hampers our ability to adequately represent them,’ Sinanan said, adding, ‘but we will not allow this to hamper us because what is happening to these teachers is a tremendous injustice, because the majority of the teachers are presently receiving $2600 per month, and are to be ungraded, but they have to sign these letters of engagement.”

He also noted that the teachers were also being offered an ex-gratia payment for their years of service, based on when the Ministry had begun paying them. It pointed out that a large percentage of the teachers had been ECCE teachers since the 1980’s.

Sinanan said the union was examining whether the Ministry had breached any of the existing laws, including the OSH Act and the Industrial Relations Act in its dealings with the teachers.

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