We are preparing for decisive action should our demand not be met in the budget on Friday - FTU

We are preparing for decisive action should our demand not be met in the budget on Friday - FTU

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 25/06/2024
Photo : File

The Fiji Teachers Union calls on the government to act now to prevent a future where students are left without teachers.

In a statement, the Union General Secretary Muniappa Goundar says they are making significant progress with all necessary preparations for decisive action should their demand not be met in the upcoming budget announcement this Friday.

Goundar says the notice for a secret ballot was submitted on Tuesday 11th of this month, and they are still awaiting the outcome.

He says the extended duration of the application vetting process is puzzling, especially, when compared to the speedy approval of the University of the South Pacific Staff Association’s application, which was processed within a day.

Goundar adds the reason for this delay seems evident.

The FTU General Secretary says a substantial pay increase is essential for their members, who have been neglected for far too long, and many teachers are resigning to pursue teaching positions abroad.

He says it is only just that they receive the compensation they rightfully deserve, which will help curb the exodus of teachers.

Goundar says retaining teachers equates to preserving valuable experience in the classroom, which is cost-effective compared to the expensive and time-consuming process of training new graduates to replace them.

He adds teachers are currently overloaded with work, and the rise in student misbehaviour has further burdened them.

He says, unlike in the past, attracting high-quality candidates to teacher training institutions has become increasingly difficult, and many school leavers now seek other professions and only consider teaching as a last resort if they fail to secure a place elsewhere.

The General Secretary says they understand that placing teachers in classrooms under the current pay structure will not resolve the issue, and these young teachers are likely to follow their predecessors to overseas markets.

Goundar says Fiji risks becoming merely a training ground for countries like Australia and New Zealand, and therefore, the FTU believes that the government must provide fair and just remuneration to teachers to minimize resignations and migration.

He says failing to do so will result in a continuous loss of experienced teachers to overseas markets.

He further says that they demand a 30 percent pay increase for its members.

The FTU General Secretary says teachers have endured insufficient pay for far too long, making it difficult to provide even a modest meal for their families.

Goundar says immediate action is necessary to avert, a crisis such as students left without teachers in a classroom.

He called on the government to pay the teachers well and meet their demands.

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