Parents are being advised to keep their children home on Thursday and Friday because of possible industrial action to be undertaken by teachers across the country. Once again, Tobago teachers are announcing their full support for action taken in response to the latest proposed salary increase from the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO). Last Friday, teachers embarked on another day of 'rest and reflection'; many schools were left unattended.
TUTTA Officer for Tobago, Claudette Governor told Tobago News that approximately 90% of the teachers stayed away from school last Friday.
According to Governor, the TUTTA negotiating team met with the CPO on November 9, in attempt to narrow the gap for teachers based on the external labor market.
However the proposed amounts of 4.7% increase for grade 1-3 teachers and 6.4% increase for grade 4-8% were not accepted.
Another meeting was held on November 16th which narrowed the gap to 81%. That would work out to an 8.5% increase for teachers in grades 3-4. The majority of teachers fall into this category.
Governor explained that while the General Council had scheduled a meeting, it was clear that the union was not prepared to accept the present offer of 8.5% that is on the table. On Friday, the negotiating team will meet with the CPO to further deliberate the faith of the teachers. In the meantime, teachers are on standby to rest and reflect this Thursday and Friday if their demands are not met.
Meanwhile, teachers at the Signal Hill Comprehensive School were called to an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the state of a pupil who was injured on the compound on Friday. A fight among students at the school on Friday left one student critically injured. Teachers have been complaining for some time that the one dean assigned to a school of over 800 pupils is inadequate. However, their pleas have not been acceded to by the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport.
Reports are that the male, form six pupil was allegedly hit in his head with a bottle and suffered a broken nose. Teachers rushed to the scene and battled to assist the student who was bleeding profusely. He was rushed to the Scarborough General Hospital before being transferred to Trinidad.
The attack was allegedly carried out by a school gang led by two brothers.