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Wednesday 19 September 2018
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Help us get our jobs back

Retrenched UTT lecturers write to Paula-Mae Weekes:

FILE PHOTO: University of TT (UTT) lecturers, seen on May 14 outside the Education Ministry's head office, Edward Street, Port of Spain, are demanding reinstatement. (Left to right) Student Sacha Mohammed, Lecturers terminated leaves the UTT O Meera campus after meeting with officials From Left Rudy Singh, Dr Kumar Mahabir, Solomon Rajnathsingh, Omar Maraj and UTT Math student Makela Celestine who came out in support of the fired lecturers. PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED

FORMER assistant professor at the University of TT (UTT) Dr Kumar Mahabir has written to President Paula-Mae Weekes to help the fired lecturers, including himself, get their jobs back.

Mahabir in his letter to Weekes dated August 15, said he was writing on behalf of the 18-plus lecturers who “were wrongfully dismissed from the Centre for Education Programmes (CEP) at the UTT on May 11, 2018.”

He said they were requesting her immediate intervention “in this unfortunate situation” as the likely UTT Chancellor designate.

He pledged to withdraw all legal action against the UTT before the Equal Opportunity Commission and the High Court if reinstated, and also “cease exposing the injustice that we have suffered by the UTT in the media.”

Mahabir told Weekes the dismissal letters said they were “surplus” lecturers redundant to the UTT’s restructuring.

Giving a summary of the dismissal, Mahabir said due process was not followed and charged that the UTT breached its only human resource policy, which clearly outlined the procedure to follow before separation. He said Prof Kenneth Julien, as UTT’s chairman, signed that separation policy on March 19, 2009.

Arguing the case for reinstatement, Mahabir pointed out that on September 3, when the new semester and academic year begins, there will be vacancies as the employment contracts of about 26 lecturers at the CEP will expire on August 31. He said about eight lecturers would be over the age of 70, which is the age limit to work at UTT.

“Five lecturers on secondment would be sent back to their respective schools. There would be about 39 vacancies arising out of the natural termination of contracts, age limit restriction, and lecturers returned to their substantive jobs. In accordance with the principles of good industrial relations, we are requesting that we, the 18 plus retrenched lecturers, be reinstated or re-employed as a priority in the vacancies arising.,” Mahabir told the President.

He said UTT’s president Sarim Al-Zubaidy, vice president of human resources, Leah Ramgattie, and Centre for Education Programmes head Dr Judy Rocke should be compelled to reinstate the retrenched “surplus” lecturers before the beginning of the semester.

To re-employ others as a priority would be administratively, procedurally, conventionally, constitutionally and legally wrong, Mahabir contended.

“We seek your kind assistance and intervention in this matter in keeping with Sections 37 & 38 of the Constitution which bestows upon Your Excellency the power to defend the Constitution and the law and conscientiously and impartially discharge your duties to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” he asked Weekes.

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