(CMC) – The Grenada government Monday urged teachers not to proceed with planned industrial action that would disrupt classes two days this week over the offer of a two per cent gratuity offer.
Education Minister Emmalin Pierre said she expects all teachers in the public service would report to work as usual on Monday and Wednesday despite an announcement made late last week by the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) that its members will be off the job for those days to “rest and contemplate on Government’s two per cent gratuity offer”.
“It has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Education via a public statement made on television and on radio that all members of the teaching service in the employment of Government should stay away from work on Monday 5, November and Wednesday 7, November for rest in contemplation of pension,” Pierre said in a statement.
“The Ministry is not aware of any provisions which are contained in the collective agreement between the government and the Grenada Union of Teachers nor in law for a directive of such a nature to be given to Government teachers.
“In fact, appropriate procedures are laid down in the collective agreement and in law if the union wishes to undertake industrial action in case of an industrial relations dispute,” she said, reminding teachers of their obligation to the nation’s children.
GUT president, Lydon Lewis, announced last week that teachers would be protesting by staying off their jobs “to rest and contemplate” on the offered made to the union as it pertains to pension and gratuity upon retirement.
The union is demanding a 25 per cent gratuity and pension while the Keith Mitchell government said it could only afford a two per cent.
The GUT said that the talks with the government on the issue have broken down since October 3rd and Lewis said that the non-response from government can only be interpreted as saying it doesn’t care.
“Therefore, we are going to have two days, that is Monday and Wednesday of rest in contemplation of pension, we are asking all teachers at the pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary levels to remain at home in contemplation of pension,” said Lewis, as he called on all teachers to participate in what he describes as “the fight against poverty after retirement.”
“This is about whether you going to retire like a normal human being with basic, very basic necessities being provided or you are going to retire into a life of poverty and hardship,” said Lewis, who hinted at the possibility of escalating the industrial action.