Union to celebrate annual Teachers Solidarity Week
Oswald Robinson
November 11, 2022

Union to celebrate annual Teachers Solidarity Week

The memory of the 1975 teachers strike and march where demonstrators were tear gassed by the police, will again be part of the central focus of the 2022 observation of Teachers Solidarity Week.

The week of activities, being spearheaded by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), will run from November 12 to 19.

During a press briefing to provide an update on the week of activities, Public Relations Officer of the SVGTU, Fiona Charles said it is important that members support the upcoming Solidarity March scheduled for Friday, November 18.

“What teachers went through in 1975, we are experiencing a deja vu of that in 2022 and 2021 and it is very important for us to come out and show our solidarity… with teachers who are facing a battle of their own.”

In November 1975 tensions between teachers and the government escalated after repeated calls for dialogue by the union to discuss the condition of schools and promised back pay, among other issues, went unheard.

And, in 2021 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the SVGTU took the government to court following the dismissal of teachers who refused to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The union has since held numerous marches and protests calling for the reinstatement of teachers to service, with benefits.

Union President, Oswald Robinson explained that the week of activities includes a ‘new members workshop’ scheduled for November 15 which will introduce members to the “workings and history of the trade union”.

“We saw it fit to inculcate in the minds of our new members so they will have an appreciation for the teachers union. We will cover topics such as the history of the union. We are also a professional organization, a dual organization, and a trade union organization so we will be touching on professionalism and also looking at the benefits of the teachers union. So they will be able to recruit more members.”

The Pension Reform Act, in addition to other legal instruments, will also be discussed during the workshop.

“That is a critical issue at this time for those who will be coming into the profession, you need to be aware as to what the government is thinking, and you also must be aware of the position of the teachers union. We need to monitor any new piece of legislation that will emerge.”

The week of activities is being held under the theme: Adequate, Quality Teachers, the Foundation of a Progressive Society, and will also include the C.W. Prescod Memorial Lecture on November 14, as well as the annual general meeting on November 16. Both events will take place via the Zoom platform.

The week culminates with a social on November 19 at the union’s headquarters in McKies Hill.