President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Marvin Andall has confirmed that teachers at a mass meeting on Tuesday rejected an offer made by the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government to bring an end to the16-month old “Work To Rule” that was instituted following an impasse on the 25% pension and gratuity payment issue.
“Today the teachers have spoken. They want their money back with no conditions attached”, Andall later posted on Facebook.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY on Wednesday morning, the newly installed GUT boss said that he now has to convey the decision taken by the teachers to the Minister of Education, Emmalin Pierre who was at the centre of the negotiations.
According to Andall, the teachers “unanimously” agreed in a motion passed that the GUT Executive should make every effort to recover the salaries of teachers that were docked by the Mitchell administration after they took industrial action to press their demands.
The issue, which seemingly angered teachers, is a demand made by government in a Draft Agreement that GUT should take steps to get a secondary school teacher to discontinue court proceedings instituted against the regime for docking her salary.
Another bone of contention in the agreement sent to the union for signing is a clause that many observers fear could result in the GUT giving away its right as a trade union to take future strike action.
Andall was also asked to comment on a letter that was sent to GUT on Tuesday by attorney-at-law, Cajeton Hood in which he formally notified the union that he was withdrawing the legal assistance offered to them in the current impasse with government.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Hood pointed an accusing finger at Andall for allegedly making approaches behind his back to his teacher client to solicit her support to withdraw the court action taken against the Mitchell-led government.
The new GUT President denied the allegation and said that all he did was to approach the teacher to get an understanding of the status of her court matter with government.
Andall launched into a broadside on Hood, accusing him of being anti-worker and not to be trusted by the trade union movement.
He said the union has no matter in court on the docking of the salaries of teachers and that Hood was not legally involved on its behalf.
He charged that 20 years ago Hood as a senior public officer was head of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) in salary negotiations with public sector unions and adopted the most hardline attitude in the encounter with the unions.
He said that the former Attorney-General was only now posturing for the union due to his fall out with the Mitchell government and his known friendship with the former GUT President, Lydon Lewis.
According to the new GUT boss, the union is confident that it will be able to get “better” legal representation than that offered by Hood in going forward.
“I can tell you that he (Hood) has done us a favour by withdrawing. I never trusted him and you can tell him that”, said Andall.