Missing in action
Union waiting for over three weeks for audience with Chief Education Officer
The president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is still awaiting a promised call from the Chief Education Officer Laurie King for them to discuss some urgent outstanding matters.
Redman told a gathering of teachers at the headquarters of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) this morning she had telephoned King at the Ministry of Education on many occasions and left numerous messages, however, she had not received a single response to date.
In the meantime, she said the needs of members were being ignored and discontent was being allowed to fester.
She said among the lingering to be resolved was the “unfair dismissal” of a general worker at one school after six years of service. She explained that the dismissal came after he attempted to regularise his position, noting that his job was subsequently advertised and a totally new person hired.
Additionally, she said some teachers, who should have been appointed since seven years ago under the December 31 2007 Public Service Act, were still in limbo.
She also questioned the status of a member who was moved from a full time position for four years ago to a part-time position with no prior consultation on the matter.
“The Ministry needs to meet, discuss and understand the BSTU’s position in relation to the excess work that Caribbean Examinations Council School Based Assessments place on teachers in the system,” Redman added.
She also raised a similar concern on behalf of those involved in the introduction of the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) to schools.
“Our call for compensation for that SBA work from CXC is a reasonable one, and one that we are acting on from this academic year. The Ministry will not be in a position to claim ignorance of our intention since we made the contents of our resolution on this matter, passed at our annual general meeting, known to them since May,” she stressed.
The teachers’ president also said the union was seeking to ensure that “no school will have a repeat of a situation where after receiving an official letter in January informing the school that a teacher had been granted leave for two years, the chairman [of the school] advertised that individual’s job in April and interviewed persons in July to recommend someone else for the position.
“That affected teacher has not been paid from June to August,” she said.
Redman also highlighted a situation in which “a secretary treasurer allowed interviews to be conducted in the absence of the deputy chairman of the board of management and head of department in the subject area”, she added.
However, she said in the past when the union had been forced to vent its frustration in the media, some members of public were quick to judge, and “an embarrassed ministry” even quicker to excuse and misrepresent.
The president suggested that when certain matters that reflected “serious industrial relations” were brought to the attention of the Ministry by the union, “a full, respectful and professional response” should be forthcoming.
“That is the type of dialogue and relationship that needs to exist,” she said.
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