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Protesting teachers’ pay will be cut

NASSAU — Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday he is firm in his resolve to cut the pay of nearly 200 teachers who protested with the Bahamas Union of Teachers‚on Monday.

Fitzgerald said the deductions would come out of teachers’ pay this month or October.

The minister added that every public school teacher reported to work on time yesterday and repeated that he had no plans to meet with the union under the current conditions.

His statement came as BUT executives met with officials at the Department of Labour for a conciliation meeting over six trade disputes the union has filed.

The union has warned of further action if teachers’ salaries are cut.

“Their salaries will be cut and I don’t want the union in any way to mistake my kindness for weakness,” Fitzgerald told reporters before heading into a Cabinet meeting.

“We at the Ministry of Education are very resolved in the position we have taken and we will proceed along that way.

“They will see a deduction in their pay, if not this pay day then definitely by next month after we’ve had a chance to finalize all the paperwork.”

BUT President Belinda Wilson warned in a statement on Monday that Fitzgerald “will pay the price” if he follows through on his pledge to cut teachers’ salaries.

Wilson said yesterday that it is in the minister’s best interest to resolve the six trade disputes the union filed against the Ministry of Education and Department of Education before he creates another problem by cutting the pay of some teachers.

“If he keeps pushing, the union [will be] forced to take further action,” she said.

Wilson said her union would file a trade dispute demanding that teachers get their full salary, if their pay is cut, and urged the minister to stop acting “on emotion”. (Nassau Guardian)

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