BUT: Justice must be be done

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is pressing for justice for temporary teachers it said were not fairly treated in Government’s recent list of appointments.

It plans to take their case to the Ministry of Education before the school term ends on Friday.

At the conclusion of a more than one-hour long meeting of temporary teachers, who packed the BUT headquarters at Welches, St Michael this afternoon, President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY members expressed concern about the criteria used to appoint 416 of the nearly 1,000 teachers who had applied for jobs in the teaching service.

President Pedro Shepherd
President Pedro Shepherd

“One major sore point today was the fact that teachers had no idea what criteria was being used . . . so when the first batch of teachers came, they realized those persons were teaching for 14, 13, 12, 17 years . . . the next batch, nine, 11 [years], and so they were of the view they were looking at it in terms of years,” Shepherd said.

However, he pointed out that by the time the process reached midway, the teachers recognized that people with five years were receiving letters of appointment, ahead of some with more years in the service.

The union head said the temporary teachers therefore asked the BUT leadership to find out when they will get their letters.

“The teachers are adamant that they need to find out from the ministry how soon they can have their letters of appointment as well, because they still cannot receive mortgages, receive loans from commercial banks and some of them have basically put their lives on hold for the time being.”

Shepherd also expressed surprise at the large turnout of over 70 teachers for this afternoon’s meeting, saying he did not realize there were so many temporary teachers who had applied and did not receive letters of appointment.

The BUT boss said the meeting also looked at how the applications for the permanent positions were treated.

“Of course we know that teachers had applied, but nobody received correspondence indicating that PAD [Personnel Administration Division] did receive applications; so we are going on the assumption that those applications were received by PAD and that they were processed.

“That is something we would have to verify, having had this meeting and collecting information from the 70-odd teachers present, relative their length of continuous service and the actual professional training when they would have received through Erdiston Teachers Training College.”

Shepherd said there were a number of grey areas the union was seeking to have clarified by the Ministry of the Civil Service, the PAD and the Ministry of Education. He said he hoped to dispatch a letter to relevant ministries before the end of the school term and be in a position to give teachers feedback before the new term starts.

“We are seeing  [what] some people say supercession, but I think it is a case of persons being unfaired in this whole process of appointments. We want to see some justice done . . . but we have to sit down with the Ministry and work out some way forward for these teachers,” emphasized the union leader. (EJ)

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