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Teachers march in PoS for ‘fair’ wages

Published: 
Saturday, May 7, 2011
A cross section of teachers marched through the streets of Port-of-Spain yesterday in protest over Government’s five per cent pay increase offer. President of the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Rostan Job, who led the protest, was adamant that teachers will not accede to the offer. Job said he will meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis next week and if there is no headway he wants to see 10,000 teachers in the street for the next protest. Photo: Brian Ng Fatt

Scores of teachers clad in red T-shirts took to the streets of Port-of-Spain yesterday to demand what they consider a “fair” wage increase. Roustan Job, president of T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), who led the protest said, the union was urging Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Stephanie Lewis to complete the External Labour Market Survey (ELM), in order to negotiate a just settlement for the teachers.

The teachers abandoned their schools as early as noon, and marched in the scorching heat, from the Brian Lara Promenade onto Edward Street, across New Street and then onto St Vincent Street, where they stopped outside the CPO’s office and chanted for a hearing. Job said the union was adamant about not accepting Government’s five per cent offer. Asked by the media how many schools were disrupted by the protest, Job said he could not give a figure at this time, but from the teachers’ turnout, several schools were affected. He said, however, that he would provide more details on Monday.

Job said since 2000, salaries for teachers had been set through the use of an ELM survey and consequently negotiations over that period have sought to pull teachers’ salaries up to the ELM levels. The ELM, he said, was not based on a general percentage but on a graded system from one to eight. He said the CPO had refused to complete the ELM survey, which was not a lengthy process. Job said the CPO was trying to bully TTUTA into accepting a concocted, unsupportive method for setting salaries, which would have little or no real connection to ELM salaries.