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Teachers’ Elections – SVGTU/Teachers’ future hangs in the balance

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Fri, Feb 17, 2012

Editor: The teachers’ elections due for sometime this month, squarely and clearly put SVGTU’s and teachers’ future in the balance.{{more}}

The Union has experienced its worst period that I can recall in forty years. It has lost its way, its teeth, its credibility, its benefits and all it stood for. Thanks especially to the ‘leadership’ of the last four years. The teachers’ union has become a ‘bowed-head’ image.

It is sad and really sorrowful to think of the rapid demise of a Union that was so vibrant and vigilant up to 2008! What is even more disturbing is that some of those responsible for taking us to our proverbial grave are bold-facedly seeking re-election. And some of those who can really make the SVGTU rise again have not made themselves available. However, teachers have one more opportunity to resuscitate our dear Union.

In the last two years, only Hugh Wyllie of the present executive seems to have the courage to stand up for teachers and the Union. He bravely asked for government to honour and respect the Collective Agreement publicly. Not like the fella who can jump on poor Clayton Burgain for cheap public relations stunts shots, but cannot tell the chief cook to come clean and honour the Agreement. Five years now we can’t get a new Collective Agreement, as ‘leaders’ play self-first’ with the Union.

At least, teachers need to put someone in the presidency of the Union who is passionate about the objects and vision of SVGTU – Someone who would restore our public image. Someone who would restore confidence – someone who understands struggles, unionism, education, and is prepared to give leadership and make a sacrifice – Not those whose only love and interest is the jacket, the status, and self-interest.

The problem is not the teachers. Yes, they ought to attend meetings more and look out for their union, but when your leader speaks like your employer, condemns your own Agreements, values and practice, and double speaks, even militantly (for the moment of the camera) without any action, and leaves members for the wolves, teachers must be fed-up/hopeless. When your leader says openly to his executive I will not take this union in any struggle, street or otherwise”, what do members do?

SVGTU, teachers and the nation are the poorer for a fainted SVGTU. The weekly newspaper editors, along with scores of commentators, have questioned the seriousness of our present crop of leaders in protecting and defending all that was struggled for by our fore-runners. However, there is another opportunity to rescue the Union’s credibility, voice, integrity, benefits etc by electing only those who are serious and passionate about their task.

May we at least get a courageous leader and core team who have the guts, spine, passion, commitment and credibility to restore our loved SVGTU/ and teachers’ pride and standing.

Today, it’s not just salary, or increases, a serious assault and conspiracy is being proposed to make us die on the job or be paupers after retirement. Trained and certified teachers are not being appointed and all the like.

We must do it right because our future hangs in the balance.

Otto Sam

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