Teachers demand answers on their vacation allowance

Teachers demand answers  on their vacation allowance

WITU President Claire Elshot-Aventurin shows the letter the union submitted to Parliament.

~ Submit meeting request to Parliament ~

PHILIPSBURG--Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) members stand firm on receiving their vacation allowance.

  These civil servants and public school teachers reached out to union board members seeking clarity on the status of their vacation allowance not only for the 2020/2021 school year, but also that 2019/2020 school year.

  WITU President Claire Elshot-Aventurin recapped that civil servants and teachers in public education only received three per cent of their vacation allowance last year.

  She said this year teachers were expected to receive the remaining vacation allowance together with their vacation allowance for this year, as previously agreed on.

  To address its members, the union ultimately decided to hold meetings on this topic. These meetings started last week via virtual channels.

  Elshot noted that most subsidised school boards have gone ahead and provided their employees with their vacation allowance. She also emphasised that, according to her understanding, there is no legal basis on which the vacation allowance can be suspended or withheld.

  WITU assured that it is standing by its members in seeking a solution on this matter. The union believed that obtaining legal advice was a necessary step in doing so and made contact with a lawyer seeking legal advice.

  Members had the opportunity to meet with Attorney-at-Law Cindy Marica-Henderson of Mariflex Attorney’s office on Monday.

  WITU members came together again on Tuesday. The union eventually joined the police union NAPB St. Maarten in its manifestation to the government.

  After some time standing in protest outside of the Government Administration Building, the unions and members made their way to the Parliament building. There Elshot submitted a formal letter to Members of Parliament (MPs) requesting an urgent meeting and asked for the presence of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) and the Minister of Finance in this meeting.

  The agenda point listed for the meeting is the vacation allowance for the Public Education Division and civil servants.