THE Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) will be joining with other trade unions in a march through the streets of Port of Spain on Friday to demand a settlement of outstanding negotiations.
TTUTA first vice-president Davanand Sinanan said they have issued a call to all teachers to join them as they express their frustration with Government's failure to settle salary negotiations.
"We are calling on all our members from pre-school to secondary school to put on something red and come and support us...we understand that it might pose some problems in the short term but in the long term it will be redound to be beneficial," he said.
According to Sinanan, they have been waiting since 2009 for the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) to complete the external labour market survey and they are now "extremely frustrated at the slow pace of negotiations".
"What is so special about that survey that they cannot finish it yet? Our patience is growing thin and we can't understand why the authorities are allowing this to drag on. They don't seem to realise that the longer they stall negotiations, the more time teachers have to grow disenchanted and when that happens they reduce their output. It can essentially affect the way they work," he said.
Sinanan explained that ever since the job evaluation exercise was completed in 2000, salary negotiations for teachers have involved the use of an external labour market survey to set teachers' salaries.
He said jobs in the Teaching Service are matched with jobs outside of the service and the salaries of the comparable jobs are obtained through the survey, which is carried out jointly by the CPO and TTUTA.
He explained that the method of determining salaries is a systematic data-driven approach. It is meant to offer guidance with regards to salaries for teachers in order to recognise their worth.
"The last survey they did, they said something was wrong and had to start over, how long does it take... it's been more than three years already, we have had enough," he said.
Asked about schools having to be closed as a result of the protest action on Friday, Sinanan said: "What the authorities do as a result of teachers not being in school is their business...they left us no choice."