President of the St Vincent and Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU), Oswald Robinson has reprimand teachers for the poor turn out at their March and Rally on Friday 17.
Less than 100 teachers turned out to the event despite the schools being given half-day in support of the event.
“Some people think it hard to take one day off to stand with their union. Today we got a half day. How many teachers we have in the country, about 2,000. Where are they? The unions asked the authorities for half-day and the half-day was given and where are the teachers? We can do better than this. Too many excuses when the union calls but when we have our problem we call the union,” said Robinson during the rally that took place on the compound of the Bishop College Kingstown.
The President asked rhetorically: “When the volcano erupted who responded? When government retired you, who stood up for you?”
Robinson said that there are important issues on the table, such as pension reform, teaching appointments, a new collective bargaining agreement and the poor condition teachers faces, hence teachers need to support of the Union.
“Whatever function you have to perform in any organization, you have to be active. We can’t be spectators and if it is not the time now, now is the time to be more active so we will be part of that essential ingredient to reap the success that we so desire,” Robinson declared.
The March and Rally coincided with Teachers Solidarity Week which runs from November 11 to 17, under the theme: “The Significance of workers’ Active Participation: A Recipe for Success”.
Lawyer for the SVGTU, Jomo Thomas, in his address, highlighted the importance of teachers and posited that they should be celebrated.
He recalled being a little boy when the teachers had their march in 1975.
“And I remembered there were hundreds of teachers and there were hundreds more of citizens who joined teachers in that very historic march. And as that march progressed from the Peace Memorial Hall down to the Market Square, that March was assaulted by the government of the day, St. Vincent Labour Party. ……. people were tear gas, one person was killed and several others injured in the melee, and from that November 14 on 1975, teachers have been marching and rallying to keep this event together and build the consciousness; and that is something that is critically important,” said Thomas, adding that, “…the march and rally is a tribute to the commitment and discipline of your organization and you should commit to keep this going.”
The rally also received messages of solidarity from the Public Service Union, and Teachers Unions in Jamaica, Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the Caribbean Union of Teachers.
Source : The Vincentian (Kenville Horne)