Sunday 18 November, 2018

Ministry of Education seeks legal action after TTUTA calls for boycott

The Ministry of Education is seeking legal advice to guide its response to any teachers that fail to report for work on Friday.

This after President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai called on teachers to stay away from school on September 7 to participate in a day of "rest and reflection".

The action, Doodhai said, was to stand in solidarity with Petrotrin workers who are now facing the breadline after the closure of the company's Point-a-Pierre refinery.

TTUTA, along with several other unions, say they will be participating in the action.

Speaking during a conference at the Ministry of Education on Saturday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the Ministry has sought advice from the Attorney General and its own legal team on what he deemed to be a "sympathy strike".

"Cabinet has directed the Attorney General to research the law, the Education Act, the Civil Service Act, the Industrial Relations Act, the Teaching Service Commission Regulations, the Public Service Commission Regulations and any other bit of legislation."

The Attorney General's report will be submitted on Monday, Garcia said, which will determine how the Ministry will treat with teachers who participate in the day of rest and reflection.

President of the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) Raffiena Ali-Boodoosingh took a softer approach and urged teachers to turn up for school.

She said children are the ones who would be negatively impacted by any strike action.

"We have to look at what signals you are sending to the children," she said.

"You are telling the children, your students you don't solve problems by protesting. You dialogue, you collaborate and come to a consensus. But in the public they see you doing something else.

"It is important that our children are in school. Our children lose too much teaching time and we see this loss of teaching time in the results of our examinations, SEA, CSEC and CAPE."

She said despite the financial situation facing the country, the Ministry of Education has been trying its best to ensure that children are able to return to school on Monday and she urged teachers not to disrupt the first week of school.

Ali-Boodoosingh advised parents to send their children to school on Friday as there will be administrative staff to ensure their safety even if teachers heed the call to stay away.

 

 

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