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Teachers’ strike due to many causes

Principal Jeff Broomes’ public censure of a teacher in December last year was not the sole cause of the Alexandra School strike the following month.

Barbados Secondary Teachers Union consultant Patrick Frost said the 30 members of the teaching staff who took industrial action had “come to the end of the road” after years of conflict with the principal.

He was continuing his testimony at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, held at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

Frost also said the causes of this year’s Alexandra strike were internal, the parties at the school involved, and external, factors, specifically Government delays in resolving the conflict.

“The causes don’t relate to one person, nor should it be thought that what took place on December 2 (2011) by itself, or any of the others by themselves, would have caused industrial action,” the witness said.

“It was this cumulative effect where there was no reduction of the pressure, and there was no seeming place to which those individuals could go to have respite.” Frost also said the BSTU, like all other reasonable unions, “does not go on strike lightly”.

“Where that trade union involves members of a profession it takes it even more seriously…,” he stated.

“It wasn’t a case now of becoming a habit, it was a case of circumstances which had become habitual reaching the point where the persons who worked there could not continue in their view to work there unless something was done. It was on that basis therefore that a collective decision was taken and we are here today as a result of that.” (SC)

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