Teachers not threatening industrial action over salary
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November 6, 2012
Teachers not threatening industrial action over salary

The Teachers’ Union is not demanding that the government pay now the full three per cent salary increase owed to public servants since January 2011.{{more}}

Neither is the union threatening industrial action.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who was overseas, said on October 26 in a pre-recorded Independence address, that his government is proposing to pay public servants in December half the money owed.

And Teachers’ Union president Oswald Robinson told a press conference yesterday that his comments published in the media last week were merely his reaffirming the position of the membership of the union.

SEARCHLIGHT on October 30 reported Robinson’s comments, in which he said his union was still demanding the full payment.

But the teacher’s union president explained that this was based on the decision that the membership took at a meeting in August that they wanted the three per cent to be paid by December this year.

“Having said all of that as a union, we don’t want people to feel that we are unreasonable,” he said.

“… we have not changed our position. The membership took a decision that we needed three per cent by December, so that is the position of the Teachers’ Union,” he said, adding that the executive will meet on Friday, ahead of a pre-planned general meeting in November.

Robinson added that some members of the public believed that the union’s members wanted the country to go bankrupt.

“We are not unreasonable and we are not demanding the three per cent,” Robinson said.

“We know that we are living in harsh economic times … We want to be reasonable … we don’t want all for ourselves.”

Robinson further said that the union was not contemplating any industrial action.

“Because we have a lot of work dealing with our two branches … If two branches are functioning out of 10, how could you stage industrial action?” he said.

He further added that the union’s executive wrote to the membership asking for stewards in the schools and so far only nine of the many primary and secondary schools have responded.

“We met as an executive on Friday (November 2) and deliberated and we are willing to have continued dialogue with the authorities to see what is best not only for teachers, but for the nation as a whole,” Robinson said.

He, however, said that the matter was already legislated, but they did not see anything in writing, adding this was a matter of concern for the union.

The union’s president explained that he called Gonsalves, who said that he felt it was important to make the decision before he left the state.

But Robinson said that they were expecting that Gonsalves would have made the announcement during the planned meeting scheduled for this month between the various union representatives and the prime minister.

The other problem, he explained, was that even with the proposed increase of 1.5 per cent no members of the teachers’ union will get an increase of over $100 a month.

He said that for teachers in Grade C, the maximum amount per month would be $95.96 with the minimum being $72.00; Grade D: $84.84 (maximum) and $65.79 (minimum); Grade E: $76.17 and $58.30; Grade F: $68.01 and $52.35; Grade G: $58.37 and $45.05; Grade H: $49.04 and $37.61; Grade I: $33.18 and $24.47 and Grade K: $26.58 and $19.65. (DD)