BUT warns of new militant approach

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) has issued a stern warning to the Ministry of Education that it was abandoning its compliant and tolerant method for a more militant and combative approach to industrial relations.

Angry that a number of vexing issues was compounded by the docking of the pay of 80 per cent of teachers who had attended union meetings during school hours in April and May, BUT President Pedro Shepherd did not mince words when he addressed the 20th annual John Cumberbatch Memorial Lecture at the Almond Bay Conference Centre yesterday.

“Teachers must recognize that it can no longer be business as usual. The time has come for a resurgence of the energies exhibited by our predecessors,” he said, listing past union leaders, including Minister of Education Ronald Jones with whom the BUT has clashed consistently, and Chief Education Officer Karen Best.

“These were leaders who would not have hesitated to call out teachers and shut schools if ever there was a water outage, or a teacher was struck by a student or parent. If principals were transferred without notice, teachers experiencing dizziness by unknown chemicals or air pollutants, or if a school was vandalized by unknown assailants, these were the leaders who called their membership to meeting during school hours.

“They were militant back then. We had pictures of them breaking down gates at St Leonard’s [Boys’ School] because they were refused entry,” Shepherd added, painting a graphic image of the militancy to which he was referring.

The BUT president went into great detail about the areas of frustration which influenced the change in thinking, including the contentious pay issue.

In letter dated May 6 and signed by Permanent Secretary June Chandler, teachers were informed by the Ronald Jones-led ministry that “in accordance with Section 3.3.2 of the General Orders, you are hereby advised that the salaries of those officers, who attended without permission, the Barbados Union of Teachers meetings held on April 29 and May 4, 2016, respectively, should be proportionately abated for the month of May, 2016.”

However in his address, Shepherd, who earlier this week had said the union would abandon it legal challenge because it would drag on for much too long and would be too costly, insisted that the union remained resolute in its fight to recoup the deducted funds by Christmas.

“It is my intention to meet with teachers who got their salaries docked, those who attended the recent meeting, those who support those who attended and all well wishers, before the end of the term. I want us to have our docked salaries back before Christmas. I certainly want to give myself a gift.

“It seems trade unions are no longer protected by the Trade Unions Act or ILO [International Labour Organization] convention . . . . The intimidation is not going to scare me from carrying out my duties as president,” Shepherd insisted.

12 Responses to BUT warns of new militant approach

  1. Alex Alleyne October 28, 2016 at 6:25 am

    One with a “big ego”.

  2. Sue Donym October 28, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Imagine, Mr Shepherd that you go to a doctor’s appointment, the doctor is not there but insists on receiving your fee for his services. Is the doctor entitled to become more militant in expecting a gift for him(her)self?

  3. Mark Adamson
    Mark Adamson October 28, 2016 at 7:04 am

    A new social political movement must be brought about in Barbados, that helps to make sure that persons become PART-OWNERS (PARTNERS) of the enterprises in which they function – whether such enterprises are in the government or private sector of this country. Upwards and onwards!!

  4. Don Morris October 28, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Sue Donym I bet if you were one of those teachers who got their pay deducted because they attended a Union meeting, which is allowed under industrial relations provisions, you would be singing a different tune. But that’s how most of us are — as long as it doesn’t affect us, we don’t give two hoots about how it affects others. Shame!

    • Sue Donym October 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

      @Don Morris, I bet that if the issue were as cut and dry as you’re suggesting, we would not be having this discussion. Shame on you for thinking that everyone is so daft as not to understand the difference between a courtesy and an entitlement!

      • Phil October 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

        Sue, respectfully, I think you are wrong in that analogy. This Barbados Today report is suggesting some sort of revolt. Reminds me of Dennis Johnson’s remark that he smells social unrest to which several other persons agree. Someone suggested I give you that golden shower. I disagree because I won’t waste my golden water on you. Shouldn’t your name be spelt Dumby insteat of Donym?

        • Sue Donym October 28, 2016 at 9:50 am

          Unfortunately for you, @Phil, I prefer to stick to the discussion, so much of what you spew WOULD be wasted on me. I’ve already given you and your type of respect a moment too long as you’re obviously not capable of disagreeing without being uncivil.

          • Phil October 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

            I was wrong and out of place. I’m sorry. Really silly of me. My humble apology.

  5. 3rdsun October 28, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Teachers or any adult spewing militancy only leads to the clashing of heads without any results. And what will the children looking on think of such actions. The BUT was told going to court would be a waste of time so this is their plan B.

  6. Alex Alleyne October 28, 2016 at 9:12 am

    The UNION do have enough MONEY to PAY all it’s members every time a “strike” is called or other business relating to its members. The “now-a-day-Unions” are just collection agencies .

  7. Phil October 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I am not disagreeing with you Alex, Picture this. Teacher tells parent that their child is not performing to standard, and recommend private lessons. Teacher explains (part of sales technique) that his/her class is full but recommend another teacher whose class is not too full. Besides, the parent is told that it will be good for the child as a different teacher will bring a different method and a new perspective to help develop the child.. This is all a networking plan as that other also recommends and direct parents to either the first teacher or other teachers within the network. Now watch this Alex, Teachers charges $15.00 per single lesson, $25.00 if the parent choose 2 classes, and $30.00 for 3 lesson classes. The teacher conducts classes three one hour classes per day, five days per week, plus 6 classes on Saturdays, (start at 9:00 am end at 4:00 p.m. ) that’s 21 @ I hour classes per week. Now Alex , let’s say the teacher handles 100 children all told, at $30.00 each per week, that means, on average the teacher makes $ 3000.00 tax free per week, or $12,000.00 per month TAX FREE. All this in addition to their monthly secured salary. I see so many of them overseas shopping when I travel, it’s amazing. I know that they don’t need that time off payment. . Most of them makes an additional $ 500.00 per month selling junk snacks to these kids. Tell me Alex, Who is the winner here? Teaching is a wonderful career.

  8. jrsmith October 28, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Everything in Barbados is so trial and error ……………..


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