Barred by security officers from an attempt to meet with Jaqueline Job, Administrator of the Division of Education at the Division’s head office at Dutch Fort Street, Scarborough on Tuesday, teachers vowed to continue planned protest action for the rest of this week to get action on the matter of their appointments from Assistant Teacher 1 status to Teacher 1.
It was the second day of the teachers attempting to meet with Job, the first attempt taking place on Monday when they were told Job would not be meeting with them then and would set a date for a future meeting.
Orlando Kerr, Tobago Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association, said teachers would continue with protest action online their plight was addressed.
“We went in peace, we didn’t go there to do anyone anything, all we want is an audience with the administrator. We want to know after all these years waiting and all these meetings and promises, what they are going to do about these outstanding appointments?
“The teachers are frustrated and we want them to hear directly from the administrator to get some kind of redress for their issues,” he said.
Some 100 teachers are working at Tobago’s schools as Assistant Teachers, some as long as seven years, though they are qualified for Teacher 1 positions.
Kerr said the barring of the teachers by security officials, as well as the turning off of the escalators to the second floor of the Division’s officers on Tuesday were hurtful acts, compounded by degrading insults flung at the teachers by Education officials.
“It’s a sad day for Tobago; I never thought that workers going to seek information on their affairs would have been blocked out from the office. Things in Tobago have changed because it seems like we have a dictator here now, but we are going to continue to rally.
“No one is taking into consideration the pain and suffering the teachers are going through and even if they came to the Division upset, they have a right to be after over seven years of waiting just for an update. The teachers are going to convene a meeting next week to decide our next step, but we are going to continue to do whatever is necessary to get this situation resolved. Right now, we are left with no choice,” he said.
Kerr also noted, “Unfortunately the children will be affected but if the Division is able to treat the teachers who have worked so hard over the years and are now demanding their fair share, with such scant courtesy…
“They might say we don’t care about the children, but we are left without a choice. There are things that will be coming at the end of this term and at the beginning of next term to deal with what has been happening with the Division and the way they are dealing with our matter.
“If we are going to them with something so pressing and they refuse to talk to us, then we will have to take further action,” he said.