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Teachers resume protests

PORT OF SPAIN — In a rejection of Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis’ latest offer, teachers were set for two more days of rest and reflection ?today and tomorrow.

Vice president of the T&T Unified Teachers Association, Davanand Sinanan, said yesterday the union’s general council had rejected the new offer and re-affirmed its call for members to engage in two days of “rest and reflection”.

He said so while addressing an emergency meeting of the National Primary Schools Principals’ Association at Miracle Ministries High School auditorium, McBean, Couva, yesterday.

“This is not just about your pockets you know. This is about the future of education in T&T.‚This is about being able to attract and retain the best minds in the teaching profession,” Sinanan said, as he appealed for support from primary-school principals.

He added: “We want to know that all principals will ensure their schools are shut tomorrow (today). There is no question of going to school.”

That was greeted with applause from the principals. He said on Wednesday night the union’s general council met in emergency session and decided to reject the CPO’s offer.

Sinanan said even if there was an unofficial nine per cent wage cap, which was agreed to by the police, teachers would not accept any such offer.

‘Not enough’

“We have to break that nine per cent barrier and not only break it but take it way beyond nine per cent if we are to get that kind of respect. We have to demand that. Help us help yourselves,” he said.

Sinanan said last week Friday’s rest and reflection day was a success because it influenced the CPO to move her initial offer from four to six percent. He said the union hoped tomorrow’s round of negotiations produced a better offer. However, he said if the offer was not satisfactory the union would continue with its planned mass demonstration in Port-of-Spain next week Thursday.

“We want to paint Port-of-Spain red. There must be thousands and thousands of teachers marching through the streets, and that includes principals.‚Do not extricate yourselves from it. We are fighting for yourselves and for the future of education.” He said there would be some teachers who might need some “guidance” on today’s protest action.

“However,” he told the primary-school principals, “we are depending on you to do that (guiding) for us because when victory comes everyone will benefit and we all have to fight and fight hard.” (Guardian)

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