You are here
UWI students fear disruption of studies for exams
President-elect of the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Student Guild Alexander Johnson says while students empathise with the plight of the protesting workers, the guild is hoping that the current impasse reaches an amicable resolution soon to prevent any disruptions in students’ examinations in May. Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) second vice-president Teddy Stapleton said the workers held a day of prayer from 8 am yesterday on the campus for “divine intervention” into the matter.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday, Johnson said: “Although the students empathise with the plight and the cause of the workers, we hope that the administration of the university revises its negotiations so that they can be settled before exams in May. “The students empathise that the workers do need the increase in pay as it’s been so long and there has been an increase in the intake of students since the last time negotiations were settled,” he added.
“We’ve had previous experiences where industrial action had been taken during exam time and we know how disruptive it can be.” A Faculty of Humanities student said he overheard several unionised workers discussing the need to protest when the students were doing their exams for maximum impact, so that the students would get upset and protest and the union would “help” them.
He said the demonstrations around the campus were over almost as quickly as they started. The student said he didn’t know how much impact the demonstrations were having in disrupting classes and the running of the university. He said the demonstrators should go and protest by UWI principal professor Clement Sankat and “make noise by his head” because he was the person they had a grouse with.
He added that students would be glad for the interruptions. “The fact that UWI is fighting to give them four per cent is real foolishness,” he said. “They want nine, Government is giving them five per cent compared to what the other unions were asking for.” Another student said she was in solidarity with the workers as long as their protests didn't affect her studies.
In a release on March 20, UWI said the ongoing protest action by workers which began on Monday was deemed “illegal” and a “breach of the Industrial Relations Act” (IRA) since the matter involving UWI, the employer and the workers’ representative, OWTU, was before the Industrial Court and the university was entitled to “take appropriate action if it deems necessary.” Stapleton said the two parties will meet in court today from 1.30 pm to see if they can work out an agreement.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.