The People’s Movement for Change (PMC) picket in support of Teachers/Government Agreement

After years of militant struggle that crescendoed in 1975 in a teachers strike for, among other things, a collective bargaining agreement, teachers won the right to bargain and has signed on to a few agreements with various governments.

The most recent agreement was signed by Hon. Clayton Burgin on behalf of the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Prime Minister Gonsalves is a celebrated lawyer and he is ably assisted by Attorney General, Judith Jones-Morgan, a bright and thorough practitioner. It stands to reason then, that the government knew the contents and implications of the Collective bargaining agreement it signed with the Teachers Union.

Section 16 of the collective Bargaining Agreement relating to Election leave says:

‘A member of the union of at least 3 years standing, shall on application, be granted leave of absence for a period not exceeding 6 months. In the event that the member is unsuccessful, that member shall return to his/her original post or one of equivalent status, all benefits intact. The resumption of duty must be the beginning of a school term.’

The Agreement commands government to grant leave of absence on application. It also obligates the government to re-employ unsuccessful candidates to their original post or to one of equivalent status, all benefits intact.

 The People’s Movement for Change (PMC) firmly holds to the view that the government’s refusal to re-employ the teachers violates the agreement it signed with the teachers. We maintain that the honour of teachers must be uplifted and the integrity, authenticity, validity and legality of the collective bargaining agreement must be respected by the government.

 Therefore, the PMC calls on the government to stop looking at this impact in political terms and to understand that its refusal to act with regard to the teachers who contested the last elections is an affront to its legitimacy since its word and signature of its officials will become meaningless if it fails to respect agreements it signs.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by no nonsense on April 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Another protest, this time it’s Jomo and his PMC- People’s Movement for Change.The only thing, Jomo showed the NDP how to bring out a higher “percentage” of their supporters to stage a peaceful protest!!!! LMAO…lol…lol…

    Reply

  2. Posted by Catherine on April 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

    How come the issue of the constitution is raised in regards to the re-hiring of these teachers but it is ignored when it comes to giving contracts to party faithfuls? How come we are so conscious of what is constitutionally correct? This mean-spirited, even savage way of dealing with political opponents has been around for the last ten years, a strategy of the barbarian.
    While saying this, I might add that it is ironic that the PMC, whose leader is a worshipper of the “celebrated lawyer” had some kind of protest in support of the teachers. I personally see it as just an attention-seeking activity on their part!

    Reply

    • Posted by no nonsense on April 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Catherine,are you serious? This mean-spirited, even savage way of dealing with political opponents has been around for the last ten years, a strategy of the barbarian.Tell me then who resigned their job to contest in general elections, lost and was given back their jobs before 2001? Since 2001, Ruth Woods, Elvis Daniel, Nichola Daize and Rasum Shallow all political opponents were reinstated. GET YOUR FACTS!!!!!!

      Reply

      • Posted by Vincent on April 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        Gumry as Extention Officer, Selmon Walters as teacher……

      • Posted by no nonsense on April 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm

        Vincent, I’m not 100% sure about Gumry, but I know that Selmon, with 22 years of pensionable service with the government as a Teacher, willingly gave up all that, contested the elections in 1998 and loss but was nominated an Opposition Senator in Parliament from 1998-2001.He won his seat in 2001. Walters was never reinstated by the NDP…

  3. Posted by no nonsense on April 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Me, I am in total agreement with you here.Two of the teachers went around telling all sorts of lies trying to fool the public saying that they were forced to resign. They actually resigned because they did not follow the right procedure, hence when they sought leave it was too late and time was against them, so they had no alternative but to resign.
    Lately, Mr Daniel is claiming that he is still at home and the students are coming to him for classes. Well, I have no problem with that, but what would have happened if he was successful at the polls? Would he had resigned and go back to teaching?
    The teachers MUST wait and let the process takes its course!!!!! I WILL NOT burn my head in the sun to picket with Jomo nor any other person. LET THE PROCESS WORK!!!!!

    Reply

  4. Posted by E Daniel on April 22, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I see that there are some errors in the last post which must be dealt with.The 3 teachers you referred to, all applied for election leave through the Service commission department as provided for in the collective agreement with the government.
    Two days before nomination day, a reply came from services commission dept stating that we must refer to section 26 of the constitution of svg. That section speaks of public officers resigning to hold political office.

    Because of the urgency of the situation and with nomination day less than 48 hours away and knowing that our jobs will be guaranteed based on the union agreement with the government, we were forced to resign to avoid our nomination being challenged.

    By the way the Math teacher is Elvis Daniel(49 years) and not Mr Kenroy Johnson. Mr Daniel was transferred from The A level college since Sept 2010 to the Georgetown Secondary then 4 days later to George Stephens (Colonarie) secondary school.Hence, Mr Daniel did not abandon the A level students. He was transferred since September 2010.

    Reply

    • Posted by me on April 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Sorry for the mix up in names and ages in my last post. Mr. Daniel what urgency of which situation are you talking about? An election is a serious thing. So also is the choice of candidate. What sort of last minute hurry hurry thing your expect people to be sympathetic wit? Give me a break. I dont care what institution Mr Daniel was when he RESIGNED his job. He is suppose to be the best Math teacher right? So he would be of better service in any school than any place else. No one has answered my question.. Whose interest was he seekig when he hurridly gave up his job?…Your behaviou was irresponsible and selfish and you know it so stop acting like cry babies. I do hope you get your jobs back but what is wrong wih waiting on the due process. I know of other teachers who resigned and got their jobs back but not right away.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Me2 on April 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    My understanding was that the government did not grant them a leave of absence.

    In any event, the issue is not one of procedure, but one of principle (everybody should look up the word because we seemed to have lost the meaning and the idea of the meaning). The principal of the matter is that Vincentian Citizens working in the Public Service should be reinstated after leaving or resigning to pursue a political career.

    Isn’t the guy one of the best math teachers in the country? Isn’t that a reason to reinstate him – who’s interest is being served when he is denied the right to teach? Our students, Our Nation, Our party. Who gives a damn?

    Reply

  6. Posted by Vincent on April 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    “Me” oye, even if it was unconstitutional to occupy a government position when seeking office, the constitution makes no provision against the reinsertion to the position. The triad requested leave under the parameters of the collective agreement, and were ALL DENIED! If this is not partisan politics, then I do not know what is. Was Clayton Burgin or Montgomery Daniel meted such treatment and this is posterior to the collective bargain.

    K. Johnson, is not a math teacher, he was working at the Community College spearheading the expansion initiative to rural parts of the country. Get your facts straight.

    As to your “stranded” argument, we all know that being a representative is one of the highest and demanding callings; essentially, your work implicates a whole constituency or even nation for good or bad, and not a simple microcosm. G. Miguel, E. Charles, C. Sayers, S. Walters, C. Burgin etc, according to your rationale all “left the children” stranded….

    Simply reinstating the teacher’s and restoring a lifetime of benefits from serving the public, is not only good politics, but is also respectful of the spirit of the collective agreement. Gonsalves has created scores of crony posts, persons in charge of Grenadines affairs, quite a communications team, lucrative consultancies etc….and cannot rehire three teachers and a pharmacist?

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  7. Posted by me on April 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Can we please , please , please be a little honeest here. Firstly the agreemment was signed by two entities; 1. The Government and 2. the central executive of the Teachers union. All and sundry know that the constitution is the highest law of the land and supersedes ANY agreemment. Why was the onus not on the Central executive to check the constitution before signing a document that conflicts with the constitution? Why is it only the Government now that is made to look bad when BOTH sides signed and BOTH should have known that it could not hold water?

    A next thing- the agree allowes for the teachers to ” take a leave of absence, NOT RESIGN”..Did they take a leave of absence?..No they did not, they resigned. I an sure when they resigned they were well aware that in doing so they were not guaranteed a job immediately had they lost the election. I am sure they knew that they would have lost their benefits. I am sure they knew that they would have to apply just like anyone else. With this in mind, my foolish question is; Why did thoese men ( both in their 50’s and close to retirement) resign a permanent and pensionable position?)

    Mr Johnson is 54 or 55 years old and would have had to retire in one’years time anyway. Plus he is arguable the BEST Math teacher in the country. Why would a person with these scarce skills give up a job when the nation NEEDS good Math teacher?…. Whose interest was he working in when he did this? And when he left the nation’s children standed without a math teacher in his quest for higher office , was the government suppose to sit on their laurels and not get someone to take care of the nation’f children? These guyes must have been 200% sure they the NDP would win to make such foolish decision. So now the elections are over and they lost why cry fowl?…

    Mr. Eustace , had he been genuinely interested in these guys could have employed them as senators or something.

    You see, we all have to be more responsible. We cant do as we feel and not realise their are consequences for out actions. Maybe these guys will be reemployed but until then there is a process to be observed. And if you are going to blame the Government for not honouring the agreement then please put some blame on the central executive for signing an agreement that goes againt the constitution.

    Reply

    • Posted by Me2 on April 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Again Me, you keep directing attention away from the real issue. The issue is not whether Goverment is proceduraly correct, the issue is whether Government actions are principled and in keeping with how a democratic and effective government should operate towards its citizens.

      First, let’s dispense with the red herrings
      The age of Mr. Johnson – irrelevant.
      The idea that these guys made a foolish decision to resign – irrelevant.
      The idea the agreement is unconstitutional agreement -irrelevant.

      The only relevant question is “are these guys being denied jobs because of their political affliation?” If yes, that is unconstitutional. We (the Vincentian people)supported Ralph and the ULP in 2001 because we EXPECTED greater democracy, greater transparancy, greater social and economic equity.

      What did we get? We get a government we doesn’t want reinstate three mid-level public servants because they don’t support their political party. Christ!

      Reply

      • Posted by me on April 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm

        @ME2 good question….and if the answer to the question : ” are these guys being denied jobs because of their political affiliation?” is NO, then what. Or are you assuming that the only possible answer is ” yes?”

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