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T&T teachers planning to 'rest and reflect' - Educators to protest Trinidad gov't's refusal to pay for marking SBAs

Published:Wednesday | August 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer


While Jamaica's teachers have entered into a four-year wage agreement with the Government, their Trinidadian counterparts will have their own industrial action in September on account of their government's refusal to pay teachers for marking school-based assessments (SBA).

Lynsley Doodhai, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA), outlined the teachers' position while bringing greetings at the Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) 54th annual conference, which ended in Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday.

"Last week, the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago signalled that the Government is of the opinion that teachers have to mark SBAs because it is part of their job function. Right now, we are preparing to take the matter to court so we can get an interpretation on that particular issue," said Doodhai.

"Also, school reopens in Trinidad on Monday, September 3, but come Friday, September 7, we are calling on all our teachers to 'rest and reflect'," said Doodhai. "That means, we'll ask them to stay away from classes to 'rest and reflect' on the government's refusal to negotiate salaries for our teachers and to acknowledge that marking of SBAs is a duty that falls outside the job function of a teacher."

In March, hundreds of Jamaica's teachers staged an islandwide sick-out. Subsequent to their action, a new wage and fringe-benefit agreement was signed between the Government and the teachers, ending the stand-off.

In her outgoing presidential address, Georgia Waugh Richards, the immediate past president of the JTA, said Jamaican teachers would be compensated for marking SBAs.

"We're proud to say that plans are afoot and will be rolled out, and the teachers of Jamaica will be paid for marking SBAs. Indeed, the Jamaican teacher is a step ahead of our Caribbean counterparts, and for that we are grateful," said Waugh Richards.