One woman show: the president of the TTUTA protests in the points of sale
Less than 24 hours after the Minister of Finance presented the 2023 budget and announced that the government could not offer more than 4% salary increase to civil servants, the president of the United Teachers Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Antonia Tekah-De Freitas, organized a one-woman protest. outside the Port of Spain Hall of Justice.
De Freitas said she came out to represent her member’s dismay at the government’s offer, which she says is only $296 before tax:
“How can we expect our educators to survive on this when they have to travel from Sangre Grande to Palo Seco to teach? When they have to feed their family and support the system?
She said the Union has recognized that there is no state will to negotiate in good faith.
“I’m here to represent my members, to put their struggles in the public domain and hopefully for people to understand what we’re going through right now, living on 2014 salaries in 2022.”
On Sunday, Attorney General Reginald Armor revealed at a press conference that an injunction had been sought following the union’s continued call for teachers to ‘rest and reflect’.
Following this, De Freitas advised teachers to report to work on Monday as the injunction was aimed at preventing them from taking ‘unlawful’ industrial action as AG Armor made it clear that as an essential service teachers could not engage in any protest or strike.
Asked about the Union’s next step in light of this, De Freitas said members should meet and decide on their next course of action.
“I can’t comment on that, I’m here just to highlight our plight this morning…it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning. We can’t allow our legal rights to come to us. be taken down and broken and as President I am staying here for however long and how many times I will have to for the state to understand that our teachers deserve better.”