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On hold

Strike action averted for now as BUT heards from officials

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) tonight agreed to put industrial action on hold, at least until early next week, in its dispute with Government over the Parkinson Memorial and Alma Parris Memorial schools.

The BUT had given the Ministry of Education a two-week deadline, that ended at 3 p.m today, to respond to its demands for a settlement, by indicating the status of the current investigation being conducted into Parkinson and a similar timeline as to what the plan of action which was being instituted at Alma Parris would bring.

But following a marathon executive monthly meeting tonight, lasting more than four hours, BUT president Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY the top brass had decided not to take industrial action.

Instead, Shepherd said, the union would meet with teachers at the two schools, possibly next Monday, to hear what action they wanted to take.

BUT president Pedro Shepherd

BUT president Pedro Shepherd

“In relation to the ultimatum we had given to the Ministry of Education, we got a response from them this afternoon – a two-page response basically asking to give them the opportunity to do the investigation at Parkinson and continue with the plan of action at the Alma Parris school. We have not made a determination yet on our response to that,” he said.

However, the BUT head was more encouraged by the response it received from the Personnel Administration Division (PAD) which had been given six weeks to complete the appointment of all temporary teachers in Barbados.

“We also are in receipt of a letter from the PAD, and that letter seems to be a bit more encouraging in that the CPO [chief personnel officer] indicated in that letter that the matter is now before the Public Service Commission and a full response will be sent to the union within the six-week period,” Shepherd said.

The Ministry of the Civil Service through PAD, he said, had given the teachers more of an assurance that there was something [positive] likely to happen, than with the Ministry of Education regarding the Alma Parris and Parkinson Schools.

“We have determined that it would be in our best interest to meet with the teachers at Parkinson sometime next week. So that is our next move in relation to that. Well, both schools, because we are going to have both schools meeting sometime next week…early next week, to find out from them exactly where they want us to take the issues,” he said.

Shepherd declared that there was therefore no chance of industrial action at this stage.

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