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Dear Editor: More Education Ministry mistreatment; ICT technicians on the breadline

“It is completely unacceptable for the Ministry to treat workers with such scant courtesy and disdain. In these recessionary times when jobs are very hard to find, I fear that I shall be on the breadline at least for a little while. And I am at my wit’s end trying to figure out how am I going to feed my family or pay my bills without a job.”

The following Letter to the Editor, which highlights an alleged injustice on the part of the Ministry of Education, was submitted to Wired868 by an ICT technician willing to be identified only as  ‘Hurt and Hungry’:

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

I need to share with someone—and why not you and your readers, Mr Editor?—yet another case of uncaring treatment by a ministry and, by extension, a government that would like us to believe that they genuinely care about us ordinary people… even after the elections are over.

In 2012, I was hired as an ICT technician by the Ministry of Education. I was assigned to one secondary school as well as three primary schools, which I was expected to visit monthly or as the need arose. My initial contract ended in 2015. Since then, I have been working on a month-to-month basis until recently when I was told by colleagues that our month-to-month contracts were soon to be terminated.

When our contacts first ended, we were told that the Ministry of Education was changing the organisational structure of the ICT Department and we would eventually be given long-term contracts. But, like Biggie Smalls sang, it was all a dream; in fact, we were given short-term contracts ranging from three to six months, with no sick leave, vacation or benefits.

Virtually every month, our salaries would be late and some months we would get no salary at all. Calls to the MoE for information were normally greeted with disrespect from clerks who don’t care that my mortgage is late every month and all my creditors are calling me non-stop.

And to add insult to injury, we are still owed gratuity for the initial contracts, which ended over two years ago in 2015.

Photo: A frustrated employee at work.

In April of this year, we were given month-to-month contracts again; this time, however, no end date was given, either in writing or orally. I happened to call the Ministry and that was how I discovered—via word of mouth!—that I would be unemployed the following week.

It is completely unacceptable for the Ministry to treat workers with such scant courtesy and disdain. In these recessionary times when jobs are very hard to find, I fear that I shall be on the breadline at least for a little while. And I am at my wit’s end trying to figure out how am I going to feed my family or pay my bills without a job.

But it did not have to be this way. If the Ministry had done the right thing and given us fair warning, we could at least have put something in place for this eventuality.

So as things stand, Mr Editor, I am left with very few options, some of which were nowhere in my sights before the Ministry decided in its wisdom to take action and let the chips fall where they may.

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8 comments

  1. This system is not new. More than 2 years ago i know of folks who were undergoing this. Some left. Why no fuss then????????? All of a sudden it is the PNM to blame. Even the people who were undergoing this hardship was silent. I believe that the present government needs to fix this situation but people need to be honest.

  2. This is the Dump Dunce ,illiterate Braindead Nonentity ,the PNMites voted for to Ruin Education So many bright Young Scholars in Trinidad But the Blunt Brainless LUCIFER Evil wicked Unfit Clueless Doomsday Rowley could Give to Trinidad as a Education Minister A old senior Living Dead Garcia ,he is unfit to be in that portfolio ,His standard of mentality is too.low for a Education Minister ,

  3. This is how a PNM country is run!!

  4. And to know that the minister of labour, herself an experienced trade union honcho, is now so dumb and impotent is shameful. That is what politics does to people, they become blinded by the party and Prime Ministers and dare not say or do anything to displease the caucus. A very sad situation for a professional person to endure. All should band together and walk off the job, seeking alternative employment elsewhere.

  5. When oh when is the Ply-board factory going to get on stream?!

  6. I feel for this person. Aside from an expensive legal solution, people in these situations are helpless. There are no independent organisations to assist. The ombudsman office is a toothless bulldog that is overworked, staffed by people with little or no training and extreme ignorance of the law and their duties.

    The only suggestion/solution I can think about is for all the people who are in this similar situation to band together, and seek the legal remedy that is appropriate to them.

  7. Earl Best

    Every day, the situation worsens because the Rowley Government has no, has never had any, serious plan for the revenue side of the National Budget…

    …unless you call selling off the CLF assets and re-introducing the property tax a serious plan.

    And the bills, of course, are mounting: $59,000 for Shamfa, $92,000 for Darryl, $Xm for Faris and co, owners of 1 Alexandra Place, $Ym for the as yet unidentified local owners of the new sea bridge craft, $Zm for Emile Elias to build houses for HDC, $Zm, of course, until we discover what the variations are.

    So, Hurt and Hungry, band yuh belly. More hurt and more hunger might be in the works…