Welcome to the academic year 2018-2019!
Message by the President of the SVG Teachers Union
Colleagues, whether you’re new to the profession, been an educator for a few years or a veteran educator, the beginning of the academic year is always an exciting time — meeting students and colleagues, some old some new, settling in and anticipating fruitful and fulfilling months ahead. I want to welcome you, as you welcome back your students to school and, in some cases, as you welcome new students to your school. As you know your hard work and dedication to educating every student is vital to the future of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Let us strengthen our commitment and improve our pedagogy to nurture a generation and to facilitate their path to becoming disciplined, creative thinkers and innovators.
As a union, we want to ensure those new to the profession feel supported, encouraged and welcomed. We want to encourage our more senior educators to act as mentors to those new to the profession. If you have a new teacher at your school, stop by and say, “Hey, welcome to the profession” and please do your best to encourage them to join and become active members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU)! Let them know that you are there for them if they have questions or just want to talk.
The SVGTU believes that every student has a fundamental right to an education. Our continued commitment is to help you be the best educators so as to ensure that our children are always one step closer to becoming future leaders and good citizens.
To the students who will return to schools at the various levels; we encourage you to set yourselves high standards. We urge you not to loiter by the road sides and bus stops, but to move with purpose, being mindful of the demons of crime and violence. Endeavour to do your best in all of your academic pursuits and become actively involved in your leaning.
The SVGTU has already put in place a negotiating team and has written to the authorities to commence deliberations on a new collective bargaining agreement and salary increase. As a Union our job is to represent the voice of all teachers when necessary and to empower you to advocate for yourself when you can. We cannot overemphasize the need for unity. The strength of our union is in our membership. Separately, we are one small voice—heard perhaps, but easy to ignore. Together! We are a roar, a wave, a force for change in a system that desperately needs our voices to make things better.
As your president, I look forward to continuing that legacy of trailblazing and the national executive has identified several priority areas for our 2018 – 2020 term in office. Going forward we seek to:
• Start negotiations for a new collective agreement;
• Bargain for salary increase;
• Evaluate prospects for pension reform;
• Support members at their schools to develop advocates;
• Expand the capacity of the union to meet our members’ professional needs;
• Promote the Union’s commitment to excellence in education with high quality professional development, engagement, collaboration, solid leadership, and ongoing national advocacy for sound education policy;
• Transform our minds and hearts to work together to build a better SVG.
The SVGTU has a strong history of leading change in every area of education advocacy. We are known and respected by our professional union colleagues, and our regional sister organisations. We are a force to be reckoned with. Our vision is to continue to organize, empower, and educate our members daily. We pride ourselves on listening to our members, being proactive, and making a difference.
Colleagues, you have given us a mandate and this we do not take lightly. Our guiding objective is to represent you fully, fairly and fearlessly. We will continue to be strident as we vocalise your concerns and champion your cause. We look forward to the government of SVG sitting with us in a timely manner to enable us to negotiate meaningful and substantial benefits on your behalf.
My colleagues, I know the road has never being easy and the stress mounts on a daily basis, however, take good care of your health and take the time necessary to rejuvenate. As your professional organization we will not forget the purpose for which we exist, we will continue to represent your cause, and guard all the gains we have made, while we seek to conquer new frontiers.
We are in the vanguard of the Education System and so we pledge our undying support as we say Long Live the SVGTU as “Hand in hand, united we stand”.
Best wishes for an excellent first term 2018 – 2019.