second week of strike action, President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Sunday urged teachers to “be fair” and reflect on the positive interventions from his government so far.
And he also reiterated his earlier promise of improving the lives of teachers and other workers.
President Ali, during a live broadcast on his official Facebook page, detailed many of his administration’s positive interventions thus far.
A huge focus, he said, has been getting more teachers trained which, in turn, means they can be promoted and earn higher salaries. And for all trainees in pre-service training at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), they are now paid $90,000 instead of a $10,000 stipend.
On the administrative side, he said the Child Development Index Card (CDIC) is no longer a required school document. The General Scheme of Work as a curriculum document is no longer required. Teachers are also being provided termly grants to purchase school supplies.
Dr. Ali also noted that the government has been offering other incentives such as increased duty-free concessions.
He said many other interventions were implemented in the interest of improving the teaching profession. As such, Dr. Ali urged teachers to be patient with the government as it works “incrementally” towards improving the lives of all workers.
“This is all I ask, for us to be fair, for us to look at all we have done, for us to understand the commitments that I have made and for us to put the children first,” Dr. Ali said.
The Ministry of Education and the GTU have been engaging since 2020 on a proposed Multi-Year Agreement that includes salary increases. The GTU believes talks have broken down and the process should move to arbitration but the Education Ministry and the Labour Ministry maintains that talks are still ongoing.
Some teachers started to strike across the country last Monday as part of industrial action planned by the GTU. The strike action continued all week and President of the Union, Mark Lyte said it will continue this week.