The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) is celebrating Teachers’ Solidarity Week.

Teachers’ Solidarity Week is observed each year in the month of November, in commemoration of the Teachers’ Union’s historic struggle since 1975.

This year’s week of activities runs from November 12 to 18 under the theme: “Defending Workers’ Rights: An Imperative for a Democratic and Progressive Society.”

Oswald Robinson, President of the Teachers’ Union said forty two years ago the SVGTU began an important battle in defense of the rights of workers which was critical for democracy and the development of the Vincentian Society. He said the SVGTU salutes and cherishes this great legacy and reaffirms its resolve in defending the rights of workers which he believes is ‘an imperative for a Democratic and Progressive Society’.

Mr. Robinson welcomed the recent passage of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill in the House of Parliament.

He said the Teachers’ Union participated and made invaluable contributions at the consultations on this very important legislation which was unanimously passed by parliamentarians on November 7, and which will further empower the union to continue to advocate the Decent Work Agenda.

Meanwhile, the union continues to make representation for salary increases, appointment of all teachers within reasonable time, legal representation and the implementation of the Master Teacher as enshrined in the Collective Agreement between the Government and the SVGTU.

According to Mr. Robinson, among the concerns of the Teachers’ Union are the increase in crime and violence, shortage of male teachers, absence of rights for teachers in the Education Act #34, 2006, teachers retiring without a government pension, the extended waiting time for pension under the National Insurance Services (NIS), increasing critical illness among teachers, the lack of a stipend for those teachers in training at the Division of Teacher Education at the SVG Community College, and the need for compensation from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) for teachers who mark School Based Assessment (SBA) projects, just to mention a few.

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