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Over 100 teachers in Bahamas protest

In one voice: Teachers outside the Ministry of Education yesterday.

In one voice: Teachers outside the Ministry of Education yesterday.

NASSAU — More than 100 teachers protested outside the Ministry of Education yesterday, demanding resolution to several pressing issues their union claims include acts of victimisation.

The unrest came days after Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson and other executives were blocked from entering Anatol Rodgers High School for a meeting with teachers during school hours.

The union is pressing the Ministry of Education to have the principal at that New Providence school removed as well as the principal of Maurice Moore Primary School in Grand Bahama.

Amid rising tensions with the union, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald announced yesterday that the teachers who did not report to work will have their pay cut.

Fitzgerald said he will not meet with BUT officials until they abort their “irrational” protests.

He said prolonged absence from work would cause the ministry to terminate the teachers in question.

The minister said three to five percent of the 4,000 public school teachers did not show up for work yesterday morning.

He vowed that those teachers’ pay would be cut for as long as they continue their actions.

“We will not allow any one individual or any group to derail our responsibility which we guard very seriously, and that is to ensure that our students receive a quality education,” he said.

Fitzgerald spoke with reporters after the teachers and BUT members converged on the Ministry of Education’s grounds yesterday morning.

The group, led by Wilson, met at the union’s headquarters before heading to the ministry to demand a meeting with Fitzgerald.

The group assembled outside the ministry’s front doors, which were locked and guarded by two police officers.

The teachers sang, chanted and called for Fitzgerald to meet with them before dispersing around 10:15 a.m. when Wilson told them to head to work.

Early yesterday morning, Fitzgerald had warned all teachers to report to work by 8:45 a.m.

“We deem that as withholding labor, and those teachers who didn’t report this morning, their salaries would be appropriately deducted as of today,” the minister said. (Nassau Guardian)

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