Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Teachers face no pay as clerical staff walk off job
Workers employed at the Ministry of Education’s Finance and Accounts Division, Port of Spain, walked off the job yesterday claiming the worksite was not safe. Led by president of the Public Services Association Watson Duke some 200 clerical workers gathered outside the Pembroke Street building shortly after 9.30 am. “Work is officially suspended for the day,” said Duke as he addressed the staff. “Sign the register and leave. We are going to do this every single day until something changes,” he said.
Duke said for years, workers had complained about the deplorable conditions they had to work in, including the lack of a proper fire escape in the event of an emergency. With the ministry’s clerical and administrative staff refusing to work, Duke said the nation teachers may face no pay until workers were relocated to a more modern and suitable workspace. The staff were in charge of payroll for schools throughout T&T, Duke said.
He said a new ministry building on St Vincent Street, next to the Industrial Court, should be used to accommodate the workers. Duke said workers have been falling ill on the job, due to the dusty, mite-infested carpets, leading to itching, runny eyes, headaches and even bronchitis. Duke also reported a rat and cockroach infestation. He also highlighted several structural issues with the building, which dates back to 1902.
“Unless we receive a commitment from the ministry that it is going to relocate all workers to the new building by the end of the year, or at least resume construction on it immediately, there will be no work taking place,” Duke added.
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