THE EDITOR: I am puzzled at the recent advice given by High Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram in the complaint by the TT Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) on whether teachers should continue marking school-based assessments (SBAs).
In his 60-page judgment, Kokaram advised that the dispute should be dealt with by a special tribunal of the Industrial Court. He also said the issues relating to the contractual obligation of teachers were “in essence a labour dispute.”
However, according to the Industrial Relations Act (1972, amended in 1994), lecturers and teachers cannot take their disputes to the Industrial Court because they are not deemed as “workers.”
Section 3 © of the act states: “For the purposes of this act, no person shall be regarded as a worker, if he is…a member of the Teaching Service as defined in the Education Act, or is employed in a teaching capacity by a university or other institution of higher learning…”
Can someone please explain if teachers can take their complaints to the Industrial Court, especially if they feel they were unfairly dismissed or retrenched?