Witu urges teachers to unionize

POSTED: 09/18/15 11:58 AM

St. Maarten -Windward Islands Teachers Union President Claire Elshot is calling on the teachers of the Charlotte Brookson Academy, NIPA and Mac High to unionize as soon as possible. “We are hearing some strange reports coming from these schools and I would publicly like to let the teachers know that this is the time to stand up and join the union. Do not be intimidated by any principle or fear that you will lose your jobs,” the Witu president told this newspaper yesterday.

As part of an information campaign, the union intends to visit these schools this week, to give information about the union and hear some of the issues that concern the teachers. “We will go to the schools if we have to, in one school we even heard a disturbing report that the teachers have to work until 4:30 p.m. daily and pay the director of the school rent, because they live in the director’s apartment. The teachers are scared to speak out against the abuse because they are scared to lose their jobs,” stated Elshot.

Contracts of teachers from the Charlotte Brookson Academy expired last school year and up to now has not been renewed according to reports received by the Witu. In another school teachers are told that they will be fired if they join any union. “These intimidation games should stop, we want to know if these reports are true and why would the management tell their workers not to unionize, do they have something to hide. We intend to go in the schools and bring the information to them,” says Elshot.

The three schools were recently established and teachers for secondary schools usually follow their co-workers from the other schools and sign up for the union but this was not done according to the Witu president. “We know that there are about 15 teachers that work at the Charlotte Brookson Academy and none of them are in the union. We know that abuse is going on in these schools and the Minister of Education needs to know what is going on also. We would hate to know that education officials know what is going on in the schools and nothing is being done to solve the apparent abuse,” Elshot concluded.

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