A report from the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) says the action taken by teachers at the Diego Martin North Secondary School to stay away from work is not justifiable.
In a media release sent by The Ministry of Education this evening, the Minister of Education, Anthony Garcia says OSHA was invited to visit the compound and conduct an investigation on Friday 29th November, 2019 after teachers wrote the Principal claiming that their health and safety was compromised and they could not work under the existing conditions.
According to Minister Garcia, the Ministry of Education is very concerned over the developing pattern where teachers are refusing to work citing health and safety concerns. “There is a procedure under the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) Act that outlines the steps which must be taken when teachers feel their health and safety is threatened. The OSHA Act outlines six (6) steps an employee must observe if there are reasons to believe there is imminent danger or unusual circumstances that be hazardous to his/her life or health.” He adds that the Legal Department of the Ministry of Education is currently preparing a legal opinion on this matter.
Teachers at the Diego Martin North Secondary Schoolwalked off the compound on Friday 22nd November, 2019 after a rock was thrown at a window in the teachers staffroom. This incident resulted in two stakeholder meetings being held on 26th and 28th November, 2019 involving representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher Association (TTUTA), the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Trinidad & Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Student Support Service Division (SSSD) and School Supervision Division of the Ministry of Education. Stakeholders at the meeting found that the issues at the school were of a disciplinary nature. They also recommended that teachers return to the classroom to deliver the curriculum.
The Ministry of Education continues to implement measures to address safety and security concerns at the Diego Martin North Secondary School. Earlier this week, the Ministry granted approval for the National Maintenance Training and Security Company (MTS) to secure a contractor to construct a perimeter fence installsecurity lights and undertake other repairs, which were highlighted by the teaching staff.