Protest action by Combermere teachers on hold

Planned protest action by members of the teaching staff at the Combermere School, which was scheduled for tomorrow has been put on hold.

BSTU head Mary Redman
BSTU president Mary Redman

Earlier today, the President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) Mary Redman told Barbados TODAY the teachers would not reporting for the classroom tomorrow. Instead, the plan was for the teachers to report to the Ministry of Education’s Constitution Road, St Michael headquarters, at 9 a.m. in protest of what the union deemed to be unhealthy conditions at the Waterford, St Michael learning institution.

The outspoken trade unionist had also pointed out that it was the right of the educators to stage protest action under Section 104 of the Safety and Health at Work Act.

Giving the background to the issue, she recalled that the BSTU wrote the chairperson of the school’s board of management, Jessica Browne, on April 10 asking for a copy of the report released by the company contracted to carry out environmental tests at the school.

Redman also disclosed that her union had asked for an urgent meeting with the board to discuss the ongoing situation and to offer assistance in its resolution.

This was met by “a two sentence dismissive reply from the chairperson on April 17 stating that the matters the union outlined were being dealt with in a timely manner”, the union boss said.

However, following delivery by the union of a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Cecile Humphrey, this afternoon outlining the situation and serving advance notice of the action being taken by the staff of the school, Browne reported that a decision hade been taken by the Ministry to close the school for the remainder of the week.

The decision was also communicated by the Ministry in a news release, which said scheduled School Based Assessment (SBA) exams would still be held.

The BSTU is now hoping to meet with the authorities by the end of this week before deciding on its next course of action.

5 Responses to Protest action by Combermere teachers on hold

  1. Samud Ali
    Samud Ali April 22, 2015 at 2:25 am

    You mean this problem couldn’t have been sorted over Easter holiday ???

  2. Neysa Huey
    Neysa Huey April 22, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Any reasonable person would know that if a report is given to the ministry last Friday, it will take a few days for the ministry and school officials to review the report. First they would need to see what was found and if in certain areas on the school. Then determine if the steps that were taken earlier would have corrected the problem. If not, then further action to locate and fix said problem would need to occur. Only after due process could full scale cleaning be done and this could be organised with minimal disruption to school teaching time.

  3. Ideliver69 April 22, 2015 at 6:45 am

    this problem has plagued the entire school, and my sons class in particular, for close to 2 school terms so I’m glad to hear something positive ( hopefully) is being done to deal with it. But any attempt to defend the management for this, is futile since as i said this is 2 terms too late, and any right thinking person would have acted early to have the report prior to this vacation.
    but that would require forethought and ability to plan and maybe that you actually do your job.

    If the ministry officials or Minister cant do the fundamental mandate which is to have a school ready for the start of term when dealing with a known issue with plenty of advanced notice then maybe they need to go home.

  4. Nyah April 22, 2015 at 9:34 am

    So does this mean that the guy who lost his job will be reinstated?

  5. Olutoye Walrond April 22, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Not at all surprised at the “dismissive” response by the school board chairman. It is typical of the contemptuous attitude of many public officials in this country. They really believe they have no obligation to the people they are supposed to serve.

    This supreme arrogance has been the one consistent factor in so many of the industrial and other issues we have had in this country, most notably the recent Alexandra dispute.

    And until someone disabuses the minds of our public servants and other office holders of the notion that they lords unto themselves who must have no contact with commoners, we will continue be plagued by these issues.


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