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CTUSAB leaders Dennis De Peiza and Cedric Murrell.

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados has joined its voice to that of the union representing the embattled Alexandra School teachers in calling for an urgent meeting with the chief personnel officer to tackle contentious transfers.

“In the interest of addressing the concerns of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, CTUSAB calls for the holding of an urgent meeting between the chief personnel officer and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union; and ultimately the Public Service Commission, which is the employer of the teachers,” said CTUSAB’s General Secretary, Dennis De Peiza who issued a statement this evening.

It was yesterday evening that the CTUSAB held an emergency meeting at their offices at Solidarity House to discuss the implications of the transfer of teachers to and from the Alexandra School.

In admonishing the Ministry of Education on the “methodology” used to shift teachers from and to the Speightstown, St. Peter school, De Peiza said via telephone that “the manner in which the transfers have been executed will have a negative impact on both the children and teachers, and by extension the education system”.

The congress is the umbrella body representing trade unions in Barbados.

“CTUSAB is dismayed over the recent developments that have led to the continued escalation of the impasse which stemmed from the tensions of the principal of the Alexandra School and members of the teaching staff, who are represented by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.

“CTUSAB contends that the current industrial tension could have been avoided had the process of meaningful consultation and dialogue been fully engaged between the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union as well as the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, prior to the finalisation of any transfers,” De Peiza said.

He added: “CTUSAB contends that in keeping with the spirit and intent of Protocol 6, that guides the employer-employee relationship, there must be a demonstration of a commitment to consultation, dialogue, and collaboration between the employer or agent of the employer and representatives of employees as part of the industrial relations practice.

“CTUSAB urges that all relevant agencies with an interest in this matter demonstrate through their actions an understanding of Section 6.2 of Protocol 6, which reads: ‘The social partners agree that the maintenance of industrial harmony depends upon the exercise of mutual respect for and the protection of the rights and entitlements of both the employers and employees since they are important elements of this protocol’.”

The transfers, which saw the shifting of 36 teachers to and from Alexandra School, as well as Principal Jeff Broomes and Deputy Principal Beverley Neblett-Lashley, to Parkinson Memorial and Combermere School respectively, as well as and Orson Alleyne and June Browne, have prompted the BSTU to call for meetings with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart the chief personnel officer and “any officials who can answer their questions” on the same issue.

Yesterday morning, Alleyne and Browne were introduced to staff at a meeting held at the Caribbean Development Bank. Last January that union called for Broomes to be separated from the school after comments made at a speech day and prize giving ceremony and went on strike to press for that action.

Subsequently a commission of enquiry into the situation at the school was held. (DS)

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