The New Today
Local News

Praise and threat from GUT on Labour Day

Jude Bartholomew – the President of the Grenada Union of Teachers

President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Jude Bartholomew, has heaped praises on the Dickon Mitchell-led Congress government for its assistance to teachers since coming into office following the June 2022 general election.

Addressing Labour Day celebrations in Grenada on May 1, Bartholomew said that the Prime Minister and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration has done more for teachers in the near two years and more than all the other governments combined over the years.

“The new administration is setting the standard to improve the lives and standard of living for teachers and public officers, ordinary working-class men and women in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and we say thanks,” he told the gathering on the Fond Recreation Ground in St Patrick.

Bartholomew lauded the administration for honouring the Justice Raulston Glasgow High Court ruling for the state to pay pension to teachers and other public officers in keeping with the requirements of the Grenada Constitution.

The then ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Keith Mitchell was said to be leaning in the direction of legal advice from a former Attorney General to challenge the Glasgow ruling, but trade unionist Chester Humphrey who was supportive of the regime voiced strong opposition to the move.

According to Bartholomew, the NDC government has demonstrated its support for labour by already paying in January, the salary increase agreement signed with GUT for 2024 and the 25% ex-gratia payment.

He also thanked the Dickon Mitchell-led government for the regularisation of 111 teachers in keeping with a campaign promise to defeat NNP at the polls.

However, the GUT boss called for the regularisation of all public officers, as well as for an end to contract work and temporary appointments given to teachers and public officers who have been on the job for up to 10 to 15 years.

Bartholomew noted that these workers do not get benefits from the state at the end of their working days and that “is a grievance and that is a pain for all of us.’

“So we ask for complete compensation, regularisation for teachers and public officers going forward,” he told the Labour Day rally, adding, “We also put on record here that we want all of our temporary teachers – even those without Mathematics who have been teaching for all these years to be regularised and to be made permanent and we call for all temporary teaches to get the opportunity to go to Teacher’s College for 2024/2025.”

The GUT President made a plea to the Ministry of Education to make good on the promise to upgrade all School Principals in the school system from Grade “H” to Grade I.

He also appealed to the Minister of Education, David Andrew, who was sitting among the invited guests at Labour Day celebrations “to pay the principals better and faster”.

“So, we calling on the Honourable Prime Minister of Grenada and we calling on Hon. David Andrew to get together otherwise you will feel the heat in the streets with the Grenada Union of Teachers because we’re not making joke.

“So put that on record – that is going on for too long and that is a vexatious issue for the Grenada Union of Teachers and for principals – that is total disrespect.

Bartholomew also called on the government to make sure that teachers are compensated for marking CPA, SBA and other exams done by students in the school system.

He also said that teachers have lost confidence in some of the officials within the Ministry of Education but did not give specific details.

The trade union leader reminded the NDC government that GUT and the other trade unions marched the streets under the former NNP administration on the issue of pensions and will not allow the regime to interfere with pensions for public workers.

“I want to make that clear that we are going to secure it, not only for us but for generations of teachers and public offices to come, so we making it very clear whether or not a teacher comes in now or a teachers comes in 15, 20 0r 30 years from now, pension is a constitutional matter and it should be there for all our teachers,” he said.

According to Bartholomew, pension reform as being suggested by the 2-year old administration should be applicable only to the IMANIs, and non-established workers, cooks and other persons “who justly” should get a pension on going home after years of service.

“We are not going to (agree to it) because basically we are not going to accept it – our lawyer is close at hand watching pension reform,” he said.

If you are satisfied with the information provided by The New Today to our many readers, followers and supporters around the world, then you can show your appreciation by making a financial contribution to the effort of our team of dedicated workers.

Giving back is a way of saying thank you for our efforts

Support The New Today