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PUP Backs Teachers
posted (October 19, 2016)

And, not surprisingly, the PUP supports the teachers. The party sent out a statement saying as much this evening, and Party Leader John Briceno held a press briefing after a special National executive Meeting.  He says after all the teachers fought for in the public's name, Government is morally obligated not to dock their pay:

Hon. John Briceno - PUP Party Leader
"We are very concerned, dismayed that after having such a long drawn out negotiations with the government that the government now has decided that they are not going to pay the teachers for the period that they were in strike. In the 2005 strike I think the unions they went to court and the Chief Justice was very clear as I have been told that if they were to take industrial actions that then the government is required to pay their salaries and that is why the teachers did not bring up that issue whilst they were negotiating with the prime minister and his officials. We are urging the government to do the right thing, to pay the teachers, to pay then what they rightly deserve and we expect that on the 31st of October all teachers are going to get 100% of their salaries and if they don't we in the PUP are going to be urging everyone including the private sector and the other unions to join the teachers to go to the streets to ensure that they full compensated as mandated by the law."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir the judgement says that members of the applicant union will undoubtedly have the right to strike, that does not however confer as well the right to be paid their salaries for any period they absent themselves from the classroom in exercise of their right to strike. Isn't that fairly clear then that the chief justice established that you're free to strike but you can't strike and expect to get paid."

Hon. John Briceno - PUP Party Leader
"But under the ILO the International Labour Organisation or the convention that we signed; that gives them the right for industrial action and the right that the government also needs to be able to pay them."

"Here we have the teachers standing up not only for themselves; it was not only about their salary and about the coverage from social security but also about these very important governance issues. The issue about the 13th Senator, about the issue of the integrity commission and the public accounts committee; these are issues that affect each and every one of us and if they decide that they are going to stand up and do the work that many of us should have been doing, all of us as citizens should have been demanding this. I think that they have - the government not only has a legal right under the ILO but also they have a moral obligation to pay the teachers their full salary."

The PUP did dock some teachers' pay in the second, April, strike of 2005 – which is why the case went to court - but Briceno says they eventually paid everyone.

Today Ministry of Health officials were going to schools to determine which teachers went on strike and which continued to show up to school.

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