Minister of Education Anthony Garcia is today saying that any planned industrial action by the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is illegal.
He made the comment at a news conference on Tuesday ahead of a day of rest and reflection on Friday – a sympathy strike planned by TTUTA in solidarity with Petrotrin workers to be affected by the closure of the refinery.
Garcia made the statement based on legal opinions received from the Attorney General and the Education Ministry which noted that any such action by teachers is prohibited.
Quoting from the Industrial Relations Act 88:01 Sec 69, the Education Minister noted that members of the Teaching Service are not permitted to engage in any industrial action and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500 and to imprisonment for three months.
There is also basis for the illegality of the action in the Teaching Service Regulations, the Minister said.
Garcia said absence from work without approved leave on Friday can be construed as an act of misconduct under the regulations and will be deemed illegal by the Education Ministry.