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King urges teachers to follow the steps of past leaders

King urges teachers to follow the steps of past leaders

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Feature speaker at the 2011 march and rally of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) has called for teachers to rekindle the spirit of their past leaders.{{more}}

Deputy Headmaster of the St. Vincent Grammar School Curtis King, speaking at the Union’s Solidarity rally, which took place at Heritage Square last Friday November 18, urged the union members to follow the bold steps of the men and women who played a significant part in gaining recognition for the organization.

“Today would mean nothing if we do not use their example to inspire us to do better.”

“It would mean nothing if we do not use their example to strengthen the different organizations within our union; so when we say ‘move’ they would move.”

Giving a detailed historical background of the Union, King outlined the various struggles that the past leaders and members encountered as they built the organization over the decades.

One of the hallmarks of the Union’s struggles, was the 1975 strike in which members of the union were tear gassed by police and arrested, and was the reason for the march and rally that has been taking place annually since then.

“Our forerunners took to the street because they wanted collective bargaining status…. Collective Bargaining is the essence of the trade union; without it you are basically operating in a shell.”

King joined the other speakers of the evening, which included Union President Ronald Clarke in calling for the reinstatement of the three teachers, who had resigned from their posts to contest the 2010 general elections for the New Democratic Party.

According to the collective bargaining agreement of 2005, they should have been reinstated to their positions if they applied.

“So if ‘Bash’, and if Elvis Daniel, if Johnson; if they in NDP, what happen they not workers? So why we cant show solidarity with them?”

“There are those who when they heard others from the general public; others who assign themselves to political parties would be here, they tried to stall this march, they tried to stall this rally. Why?”

“The forerunners didn’t have it easy…economic times were rough… but our forerunners didn’t fear that.”

“We must not be afraid, we must not be intimidated, we must have the spirit of our forerunners… we must also make the sacrifice of all those brothers and sisters mean something to us.”

A fiery King called on the Union to look inwards, and urged the members to put political affiliation aside in the interest of the organization.

“We have to understand as workers that it is in our interest to unite. We have to understand that those who are our forerunners were willing to go out there and stand up and fight for what is right.

“If we want to rekindle a spirit we have to stand up too.

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