Unsettled wage negotiations between the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) could lead to a two-day strike action by teachers as early as next week.
That was the threat by TTUTA vice-president Davanand Sinanan as he addressed the amalgamated crowd of the Joint Trade Union Movement members in Port of Spain yesterday.
"We have been meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer almost every Friday for the past two and half years, since April 2010, and we have been trying to complete an external market survey.
"If you cannot settle this with ten of we sitting around the table, you will have to deal with the thousands of teachers and we have brought thousands of teachers on the streets and we will continue to do that if this damn nonsense does not stop," he said.
"Next week Thursday and Friday, if we are not satisfied with progress with the CPO, we will stay home and we will pause and we will rest and we will reflect. And we have more action to come."
Sinanan said for more than a decade TTUTA has been completing those surveys and it has never taken more than a year to finalise.
"This time around, we have a brilliant CPO that saying all those surveys you all doing for the last decade was wrong, we have to do it the proper way and, guess what, she is the only one who know how to do an external labour market survey as if we are a set of dunce."
He said the CPO informed them that they had to redo the entire survey.
"This CPO has no intention of completing this external market survey, she only mamaguying people. This is really an exercise in futility and frustration. They want us to abandon that survey."
He said they would continue to call on the CPO to complete the survey, "or we will riot".
"We will do what we have to do, teachers are people too.
"Even as we are marching through the streets, some of my colleagues are meeting with the CPO. For two and half years, we have exercised patience, tolerance and restraint. We have had enough, we not taking this disrespect much longer," he said.
Even though Sinanan said he had no "political axe to grind", he called on Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh to "level with the nation" about the real reasons 210 schools were not repaired in time for the new school year.
"Tell the nation the real reason why you were unable to repair 210 schools that you had short-listed, but you reduced that number to only 77," he said.
Sinanan said contractors working on the school repairs since last year have not been paid to date and they were hesitant to continue working for the Government.
"That is the real reason, level with the nation, level with the country, come clean and stop attacking Sinanan. Sinanan is only the messenger and you cannot do me nothing in any case," he said.