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Teachers stage sick-out

File photo of teachers carrying the GUT banner during a protest in St. George’s

The education system in Grenada was left crippled this morning as teachers staged a sick-out and remained off the job in their dispute with the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s over its failure to pay them their 4% increase in salaries due at the end of January.

The sick out took the country by shock as hundreds of school children showed up at school for classes but were left stranded and disappointed as many teachers did not show up for work.

One teacher who spoke to THE NEW TODAY confirmed that there was “a sick-out” as agreed upon by the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) as the protest action is being intensified against the administration on the 4% issue.

One parent who dropped off his son at the Presentation Brothers College (PBC) in the city said he did not notice any teacher on the compound at the time and was not aware of the sick-out action involving GUT.

Some children were forced to find their way back home very early and others were seen leaving the school compound and going to the workplaces of their parents.

According to one employee at a government department, some parents who were already on the job asked for permission to leave work to go back home to look after their children.

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“This thing (sick-out) is getting out of hand. We can’t tell the parents that they cannot leave work to go back home to look after their children. Parents just can’t leave their children at home alone especially young girls,” she remarked.

There has been no official statement from the Ministry of Education and Minister Emmalin Pierre on the sick-out action involving the nation’s school children.

The sick-out by teachers came three days after the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) swopped down at the home of the GUT President Jude Bartholomew in Pomme Rose, St David to interrogate him on the protest action taken by teachers.

A defiant Bartholomew warned the government after he was released that its action against him amounted to raising “an ant’s nest” as teachers will become more defiant in their protest for the 4%.

About 60 persons mainly teachers assembled at the St. David’s Police Station on Saturday night as word circulated on Social Media that members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of RGPF were questioning the GUT boss.

Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin had warned teachers that the police will take “swift and decisive action” against persons who took part in protest action in violation of Covid-19 regulations under the State of Emergency now in place by the Mitchell-led government.