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Trinidad and Tobago: Union threatens legal action to protect teachers’ rights

EI affiliate the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) is threatening to take legal action to protect the rights of teachers at two technical institutes.

The union has called on all teachers employed with the John Donaldson and San Fernando Technical Institutes to resist the temptation to apply for positions at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). The government is taking steps to transfer both institutes to the UTT from the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT). In the process, teachers from the school are being rehired as contract employees. TTUTA President Clyde Permell said the transfer itself was not supported by legislation and was therefore "fraught with unending confusion." Permell says the union is prepared to invoke the law as it related to the termination of employment of teachers, to protect its members’ rights. Although Education Minister, Hazel Manning, had promised to meet with all parties involved, the meetings have yet to happen. Permell insisted that discussions must be held to finalise terms and conditions of service of the teachers, as the "union is prepared to use all its options towards having this matter resolved." Tertiary Education Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid says that a committee is working to resolve the issues surrounding the transfer of human resources. He hopes to hold meetings with the union soon.