St. Lucia Teachers' Union News

 St. Lucia Teachers' Union, P.O. Box 821 Castries, St Lucia, West Indies


SLTU Celebrates International Women's Day

Date: Wednesday Mar 17, 2010

The St. Lucia Teachers' Union celebrated International women day under the theme Women: The Nucleus for effecting change in Society at a ceremony held at the Palm Haven Hotel on Monday 8th March, 2010.

The focus of this ceremony was to celebrate the achievements of women within the SLTU and Education in St. Lucia. Dr. Rosemarie Mathurin delivered the feature address. During this celebration, St. Lucia Teachers' Union honoured Ms. Surage Plummer a former executive member of St. Lucia Teachers' Union .  Below is a summary of her Teachers' Union involvement.

Teachers' Union Involvement 

Mrs. Plummer believes that the union was too timid during the time of her early involvement. Members were not allowed to speak to much on issues which affected them and attacked their superiors but there were a few who were highly critical and fearless. This is why the one-paged document called “The Act” was burnt publicly at a march held around the Columbus Square to demonstrate against such an insult.   The document did not take into consideration conditions of work, distance traveled, salaries, additional qualifications and experience.   Teachers were still under the PTA system.
She recalls that theSt. Lucia Teachers' Union became very active during 1975-1979. The union wanted better conditions for teachers. It wanted to equate teachers’ salaries with that of the Civil Service. This was difficult because the gap was so wide. During her time as General Secretary from the periods 1977-1978 and 1978-1979, there were many sick outs. Figure three was the strategy used as a base. Teachers would stay two days out and call a meeting on the third day. Then every third teacher would stay home. That plan became effective within a weekend of planning and went through the entire week. A meeting was then held after the first week of sick out. Then it intensified where two teachers stayed home for two days and one reported. The Ministry of Education then had parents to report to the schools. The Union visited schools and met parents on a one-one basis.   Parents were told that they were doing a job which was not theirs and was not qualified to do. The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) was prepared to have a sickout in solidarity with SLTU if government did not meet its requests. Off course, someone would alert them of the plan. The 1978 sick out led to the 1979 strike where teachers were out for fifty two (52) days. That year, Government approved its highest salary increase; 75% for the lowest grade, 60 % for the middle grade and 50% for the highest grade.
Mrs. Surage- Plummer was and continues to be a strong supporter of the union and all its activities. She was also the shop steward for the Carmen Renee Memorial School.


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