Do not give Lyte and McDonald a free pass

Dear Editor,
The call from a wide cross-section of the teaching community and the public at large is not to give Dr Mark Lyte and GTU General Secretary Coretta McDonald a free pass. Reasons being they were instrumental in leading the teachers on a prolonged strike, which resulted in our children being denied valuable instruction time as well as the delivery of a face-to-face quality education package. This is unacceptable behaviour coming from a union, and for such deliberate and reckless action, there must be consequences.
In the first place, when calling for a strike of such magnitude, one must embark on a plan that has a purposeful objective, with its central theme being an industrial focus: the interest of teachers, and teachers only. This ought to have been their primary objective. A union cannot willy-nilly call a strike for narrow political gains and expect the employer — in this case Government — to bow to pressure like that. It simply does not work that way.
So, we knew what their motive was: that is, to hold the Government to ransom for an extended period, expecting the same Government to be humbled into a place where the workers are paid for being off the job while the country is on a shutdown. In addition, there was the expectation that Government would rush to their aid and treat them as “special workers” of this country.
Well, I do not know where that special worker status came from, but what I do know is that teachers are a category of workers just like any other, and living in a country just like all others.
In fact, this strike was to have gathered the combined effort of all the unions in the public sector; this was the genius idea coming from the self-proclaimed fossil trade unionist from Kingelly. These were the political advisors that became the epicenter on which this strike was based.
So, 75 days were squandered because the GTU President did not heed wise counsel. This man simply surrendered to the dictates of a political general secretary who is vested in her party, and not in the welfare of teachers. Now that he has backed himself into a corner, he is crying out, looking for sympathy.
In my next article, I shall explore ways in which the union can reinvent itself and be a useful agent in negotiations.

Neil Adams