The dispute is becoming increasingly violent. And after a press conference between several trade unions last Monday morning to denounce the report of the Pay Research Bureau (PRB), it is now the turn of secondary school teachers to step up. A coalition including teachers of public and private colleges are setting up to protest against the PRB report.
“Les syndicats de l’enseignement secondaire se regrouperont dans un même bloc, said Ally Yearoo, president of l’Education Officers Union (EOU). Et, ensemble, nous organiserons une marche de protestation du jardin de la Compagnie jusqu’au Champ-de-Mars, avec un arrêt devant le bureau du PRB pour brûler le rapport.”
Reason behind the protests of teachers: they say they have been “forgotten” by the PRB. Not only their demands were not taken into consideration, but many advantages have also been taken away.
Ally Yearoo cites an example on the removal of the increment that teachers were getting according to their qualifications. “Teachers who hold a master’s degree could receive an allowance which was around Rs 1200 per month. This initiative encouraged us to continue our studies,” he said.
Now, the latest PRB report states that as teachers are already “overqualified”, this allocation will no longer exist and it will be replaced by a one off payment (Editor’s note: payment once) of Rs 20,000 for teachers who have a master and up to Rs 30,000 for those with a doctorate.
For teachers, this is a considerable loss, especially since they spend much for their education. The calculation is simple and quick, that is, this is a shortfall of about Rs 350,000 (over a period of 30 years) that teachers will suffer.
Moreover, the new PRB report recommends additional work each week. Instead of 30 hours, teachers will now perform for a further 4 hours.
Another anomaly found: attendances leaves. Indeed, teachers are all entitled to 19 vacation days. However, the new PRB report has put some changes and this element now indicates that only those who joined the profession in 2008 or earlier who are entitled to these leaves vacations. Those who were recruited after 2008 will take leaves only in exceptional circumstances, such as their wedding or their children being ill. All these issues have pushed the president of the EOU to say they are “totally against this report.”
When questioned, Vikash Ramdhonee, President of the Government Secondary Schools Teachers Union, feels the same way. He held a meeting yesterday with the executive members of the union when they took the decision to join the common front. “Today I met 150 teachers and gave the watchword not sign the report. We will go into the street, if needed.”
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