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Woods not for strike

One of the Alexandra School teachers who did not join more than two dozen of her colleagues on strike in January has given the thumbs down to such industrial action.

Vernell Woods said that while she had no problem with people seeking “restitution”, the children, not Principal Jeff Broomes, were the ones affected by the strike and this was her primary concern.

Additionally, the fifth form year head said despite efforts to get her to join the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, which represented the teachers in question, she was not swayed because she considered her representation by the Barbados Union of Teachers as adequate.

The teacher, who has taught at Alexandra since November 2006, gave evidence for a second day at the Commission of Enquiry into the school, held at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

Woods comments came during continuation of her examination by BSTU counsel Hal Gollop.

Asked about her feelings on the strike action, the witness told Commissioner Frederick Waterman:

“I could only give you my opinion. I have no quarrel with anybody who wants to seek restitution for anything. I would not have gone on strike because to me it was not affecting Mr. Broomes, it was affecting the children. So I would have done maybe different things but I was not going on strike.”

“The children were more affected by it… They (teachers) were entitled to do what they felt to do… I divorce myself from it.”

She added if the teachers felt justified in taking the industrial action they took “I have no problem with that”.

“I felt if they had a cause they were doing their thing, I didn’t get involved in it… They thought they had a cause,” she said.

Woods also said she “did not try to influence” her students on the issue, or hold discussion with them.

As for the BSTU, she said she was not a member, having been a member of the BUT from when was a senior teacher at St. Lucy Secondary, prior to going to Alexandra.

“I am satisfied with my current union,” she said. “I was already a member of the BUT and I was satisfied with what I was getting so I saw no reason to change.

“My staying in the BUT was not to in any way reflect on what Mr. Broomes was going through or anything.” (SC)

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