Teachers want higher pensions too
By Rachael Espinet Wednesday, June 18 2014
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The Judges Salaries and Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 that was passed in Parliament on Friday last should be used as a standard which should be applied to all employees of the State, so says Davanand Sinanan, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) yesterday in a media release.
On Friday last, Government and Opposition MPs unanimously voted on measures which will almost double judges pensions and widen the coverage given to judges’ widows.
During the debate, Government Chief Whip, Dr Roodal Moonilal said the increase in judge’s pensions, “ensures judges will never have to suffer the indignity which I have described. It is long overdue but everything happens for a reason.”
Sinanan further quoting Moonilal in the release stated, “It is up to us to provide that such outstanding citizens are not themselves suffering in retirement, impoverished and are unable to provide for themselves and their families.” However, Sinanan stated that teachers have also been struggling to live on their current pension and have been trying to get a raise in pension for years.
“TTUTA wishes to remind both the government and the opposition that thousands of retired teachers and public officers are currently living the life of abject poverty, despite the repeated promise of pension reform,” Sinanan said.
Questioning what defines an “outstanding citizen” Sinanan stated, “They have all rationalised these substantial increases saying that outstanding citizens are being provided for. How are teachers supposed to be motivated when they are clearly saying that we are not worthy of being considered outstanding citizens?”
Sinanan said teachers have made sacrifices for the benefit of their students which include the future judges who would be taught in the classrooms. Working class teachers usually face problems including increased taxes, increased NIB contribution and the denial of the right to negotiate their own pension and salaries.
He encourages Government to pass similar bills for teachers and other public servants that will assist with their pensions.