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Teachers resume 'rest and reflect'

TODAY is the start of a two-day "rest and reflect" for teachers, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) announced yesterday.

In a statement expressing its displeasure with the Chief Personnel Officer's (CPO) current offer on wage negotiations, TTUTA said the patience of the nation's teachers has been "exhausted".

The last "rest and reflect" day was held on November 16 and was a result of the "disgust" felt by teachers over negotiations which have been ongoing since 2010.

An emergency meeting Wednesday with the CPO ended with the CPO's offer of an average of an eight per cent wage increase for all grades of the teaching service.

TTUTA's latest salary proposal is an average of 13 per cent across the service.

"As a result, thousands of teachers, whose patience has been exhausted, will again rest and reflect on Thursday November 22 and Friday November 23, on the CPO's meagre salary proposal," TTUTA stated.

TTUTA said the CPO is also asking that the teachers' salaries be suppressed by the salary of the chief education officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Education. The CEO is the next highest position outside the service not represented by TTUTA.

The salary of the CEO is set by the Salary Review Commission and while it has not increased since 2005, allowances and perks have increased the compensation package by 57 per cent, TTUTA said.

The union said it is "grossly unjust" to restrict teachers' salaries to the CEO's base package of 2005.

"Teachers are owed a debt in salaries for their work over the past five years," TTUTA said.

"This debt cannot be overlooked, ignored or dismissed."

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