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TTUTA will never join MSJ, says Job
President of the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Roustan Job says his union will never join the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), which withdrew from the People’s Partnership Government three days ago. He was speaking to reporters at yesterday’s annual Labour Day march in Fyzabad where hundreds of trade union members came out in a show of force against the Government.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma and chairman of Caribbean Airlines Rabindranath Moonan visited the historic Charlie King Junction, before the unions arrived at 12.22 pm. Police armed with tear-gas canisters and guns kept watch but there was no incidents of thuggery or violence. Job, the first to mount the platform, said while he supported trade union unity, TTUTA, however, was not interested in joining the MSJ or any other political party.
He said the only minister which TTUTA would interact with was the Minister of Education. “We do not get involved in the politics of trade unions or the Government, but we will like to say that we are supportive of the trade unions,” Job said. “I think trade unions should stay out of the political arena and just do the job we are placed there to do which is to make a better way for our workers.”
Asked whether he believed the MSJ’s exit from the coalition would hurt the labour movement, Job said: “We can’t say this as yet...We have to wait and see.” In his address, Job called on the Government to show more respect for teachers. “This Government must wake up and value its teachers,” he said. “Our teachers must be physically and mentally and financially fit...Our teachers must be comfortable as they dispense their duties.”
He said that teachers must be seen as allies rather than adversaries. “Our leaders must recognise that education will always be the most powerful force for positive change in T&T,” Job said. “The world’s finite natural resources are diminishing and the only resource we have is human capital.”
He said TTUTA would continue to take joint action with other trade unions in defence of the rights of all workers. “TTUTA has doggedly maintained its policy of not supporting or promoting any political party,” Job said. “We continue to express our solidarity with the just struggles of all workers. “We shall continue to make our case for quality salaries and other quality working conditions for all teachers.”
He also called for an end to contract labour in the Teaching Service as well as proper security for all schools, especially primary schools. Job also said the Government must increase its financial allocation to primary schools and give greater priority to improving the primary school system.
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