Fight over docked pay to continue

The contentious docking of teachers’ pay last year is among of list of issues the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) intends to tackle this year, even as the union insists it wants a less acrimonious relationship with the Ministry of Education.

BUT President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY the fight to have the pay restored would continue in earnest this year.

The ministry docked the pay of teachers who attended two union meetings during school hours last April and May at the height of a major confrontation between the BUT, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) and the Ronald Jones-led ministry. The ministry contended the teachers’ absence was tantamount to a strike, since it had not given its blessing to the meetings.

“The docking of pay is still an outstanding issue. We have tried our best to work with the Ministry of Education to have the salary restored; we would have gone as high as the Prime Minister seeking to have the salary restored,”  Shepherd said.

Unsuccessful in its pursuit of a settlement, the union turned the matter over to the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) last November.

Shepherd said even as the BUT was awaiting word from CTUSAB on how it intends to proceed, the union would not sit still “because we have some members who are asking the union to provide them with whatever representation is necessary – legal or otherwise”.

“So it is still an issue that BUT will actively pursue in 2017,” the union boss said.

Shepherd said there were a number of other matters that the union was looking forward to having resolved this year, including the appointment of teachers, regular meetings with education officials and general conditions of work.

However, he said he was looking forward to the disputes being resolved in a cordial manner in order to avoid the bitterness of recent years.

”[We are] hoping that it will not be a year of confrontation but rather a year that we can sit down and discuss and come to amicable conclusions on these matters and take education forward, and we are hoping that the Ministry of Education would accede to our request so that 2017 would not be a repeat of 2016 or 2015.”

The BUT and the BSTU are holding a joint meeting tomorrow to discuss the issues facing teachers in the coming school term.

3 Responses to Fight over docked pay to continue

  1. Anonymous0260 January 6, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Anytime you call out your union members ie. Members are unavailable for work, then you are deemed to be on strike.

    In all other circumstances you must be on the job to get paid, unless management approves, in advance, your leave.

    Each time you call your members off the job, that’s time and money losses attributed to employer. Be careful in future with the timing of your meetings or agree to compensate your staff.

    Reply
  2. Sue Donym January 6, 2017 at 9:14 am

    In taking leave without approval, the right to claim that pay was lost. Simple.
    The next bell you hear will NOT be for another round of a fight already decided, it will be the signal to teach the nation’s children. Expect public support for legitimate issues; we’re not about to back you when you make the children victims of your selfish ways.

    Reply
  3. Warrior January 7, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    That was a very ignorant and. Misinformed comment. Most if not all of the teachers who attended those meetings were given permission. The hierarchy of the BUT was even docked and this is downright illegal.Read the Trade Union Act and stop existing in blissful ignorance.

    Reply

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