by Linda Straker
- GUT membership rested and contemplated on Monday
- Hundreds of students returned home due to absence of teachers
- Government negotiating team yet to make a public statement on the issue
Lydon Lewis, President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) says its membership complied with the message to remain at home on Monday and use it to rest and contemplate on government’s offer of 2% on pension gratuities.
“Our study of the impact of the action, shows that we have had 98% if not more of teachers staying off the job, the few that reported, very few they too have returned home, so right now its 100% successful and we are happy for that,” Lewis said. He confirmed that the union did not receive any form of correspondence from the government’s negotiating team since the announcement was made last Friday that teachers will be staying away from the job on Monday and Wednesday.
“Teachers understand the issue of pensions very well. We have done the calculation and showed them how it will impact them,” Lewis added.
Though the union issued its notice last week, hundreds of students turned up to schools on Monday morning but returned home because of the absence of teachers. Late Sunday evening, Emmalin Pierre, Education Minister issued a statement urging teachers to keep the interest of the nation’s children foremost in their minds.
Pierre said that her 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,” she said in a statement.
The GUT negotiation team is demanding 25% while government said it offering 2% on gratuities. Talks according to Lewis have broken down and 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.
“It means that we will continue into Wednesday and beyond if we have to,” he said. Besides the statement from the Education Minister, the government negotiating team which is headed by Beryl Isaac is yet to make a public statement on the issue.