by Linda Straker
- Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre expects all teachers in the employment of government to report to work on Monday and Wednesday
- GUT asked teachers to stay off the job “to rest and contemplate”
- If the government is not willing to agree to the union demands, they will step up the protest
Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre said that her ministry expects all teachers in the employment of government to report to work as usual on Monday and Wednesday despite an announcement made late last week by the Grenada Union of Teachers that its members will be off the job for 2 days to “rest and contemplate on government’s 2% gratuity offer.
“It has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Education via a public statement made on television and on radio that all members of the Teaching Service in the employment of government should stay away from work on Monday 5 November and Wednesday 7 November for rest in contemplation of pension,” said the minister in a news release issued late Sunday evening.
“The ministry is not aware of any provisions which are contained in the Collective Agreement between the government and the Grenada Union of Teachers nor in law for a directive of such a nature to be given to government teachers. In fact, appropriate procedures are laid down in the Collective Agreement and in law if the union wishes to undertake industrial action in case of an industrial relations dispute,” said the release which urged the teachers to keep the interest of the nation’s children foremost in their minds.
Lydon Lewis, President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) announced last week that teachers will be protesting by staying off job “to rest and contemplate” on the offer made to the union as it pertains to pension and gratuity upon retirement.
The union is demanding 25% while the government said it can only offer 2% on gratuities. Talks, according to the union have broken down as no communications have been received from government since 3 October 2018. Lewis said that the non-response from government can only be interpreted as saying it doesn’t care.
“Therefore, we are going to have 2 days, that is Monday and Wednesday of rest in contemplation of pension. We are asking all teachers at the pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary levels to remain at home in contemplation of pension,” said Lewis as he called on all teachers to participate in what he describes as “the fight against poverty after retirement.”
“This is about whether you going to retire like a normal human being with basic, very basic necessities being provided or you are going to retire into a life of poverty and hardship,” said Lewis who assured that when talks continue, if government is not willing to agree to the union demands, they will step up the protest.