BUT president not bothered by ministry threats
The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) will not be intimidated by threats made by the Ministry of Education.
With those fighting words, president Pedro Shepherd and members of the BUT dug in their heels for a protracted battle, after the ministry issued a statement yesterday warning teachers they should go back to work or they would face the consequences.
Teachers at the Parkinson and Alma Parris Memorial Secondary schools who are represented by the BUT are protesting the failure of Parkinson principal Jeff Broomes to address indiscipline among students at the Pine, St Michael institution, some of whom took weapons to school last week, and similar security issues at Alma Parris.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at the union’s headquarters where several teachers gathered for the third day, Shepherd said the union was not bothered by the ministry’s threats and it was “not going to buckle”.
“The language is language that trade unions are accustomed to. The language is not going to frighten us at the BUT. I do not know who would think that Pedro Shepherd who is leading the BUT would buckle. I have a tradition to uphold,” he insisted.
“I am following sister Karen Best; I am following Senator Harry Husbands and I am following Minister of Education Ronald Jones. I am also following John Cumberbatch and I am following tradition,” Shepherd said, referring to previous union leaders.
Asked whether he would be approaching the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) to join the BUT’s cause, Shepherd responded: “When we think that the impasse has reached the stage where we must seek solidarity of other teachers’ unions and every teacher we will go that route.”
“However, we are hoping that the ministry can, for the first time, come to the BUT or invite the BUT to sit with the two principals and bring a resolution to the situation. It is possible that the dispute can escalate, but it can also be diffused. The Ministry of Education has a responsibility to deal with the matters and it has refused to for the past five years,” he added.
The union boss told Barbados TODAY he was yet to receive a response from the ministry to a letter he sent informing that a dispute existed between the BUT and the ministry.