GUT: Full impact of work-to-rule will start to take effect

President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Lydon Lewis

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Teachers work-to-rule may impact Intercol
  • GUT meeting with teachers Wednesday, 9 January at GBSS

The second school term following the Christmas vacation is normally packed with sporting activities leading up to the most anticipated sporting event on the calendar, Intercol — the Intercollegiate Games.

This year may be different as teachers continue work-to-rule action. President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Lydon Lewis said the full impact of the work-to-rule staged by the nation’s teachers would be felt soon enough by the government, as the GUT stands its ground on the issue of gratuity.

Lewis said not only will this current impasse affect the staging of major sporting events, but the action will have a negative impact on the day-to-day operations of the nation’s schools since teachers will refrain from doing work outside of their normal duties. “The impact of the work-to-rule will not be felt during Intercol or National Primary School games. It is when chalk, when markers, when Bristol board, when toilet paper, school supplies, when food for the school feeding programme when lunch runs out — and we know government does not provide for these. In fact, government sometimes provide for the schools feeding programme once or twice per year — is when these run out and teachers refuse to make the commitment to these, that’s when the work-to-rule will be felt. Because we are not going to encourage any teachers to buy chalk or Bristol board from their pockets.”

Lewis says the government decision to dock the pay of teachers prior to the Christmas holiday will backfire. “Teachers would have lost upwards of $1,400. These were monies I am sure that would have been spent to help procure some of these items and so if they don’t have the money, then they cannot buy it. So, I am appealing to teachers again, do not take the very scarce meagre resources they were left with, to buffer any government system that doesn’t care for them. The Ministry of Education will be called upon to provide the materials needed for the functioning of their schools.”

Commenting on the government latest offer of 8% gratuity, Lewis said based on calculations, this new offer although more than what was previously offered, will still work out to be much less in the long run. “In most of the cases, the 2% government offered previously will work out better than the 8% of government’s contribution towards the pension. So when the pension engagement committee at their public forums said they are offering 8% is being blatantly dishonest, in speaking of 8% when they know it is not a regular 8%, but of the government portion of the monthly pension that they would have to pay. We already know that NIS could be up to 60% therefore in some cases government’s contribution will be nil towards the monthly amount a worker will get. Therefore the 8% will be equal to zero.”

The GUT calls upon all teachers to attend an important meeting today Wednesday, 9 January 2019, at the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) to discuss the way forward regarding the ongoing impasse.

Implementation Minister Gregory Bowen during Tuesday’s post-cabinet briefing said the government has not sanctioned this meeting since the GUT did not request permission from the government to have such a meeting during working hours. “When the public unions want to have a meeting…they ask and you either have it after working hours or you simply ask the employer to allow the people to go to a meeting and nearly 100% of the time it is done. But this particular case the GUT has not asked for a meeting.”

Subsequent to the pronouncement by Minister Bowen, a letter from Finley Jeffrey, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education was issued granting teachers permission from noon to attend the meeting.

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