We’re fed up!

Teachers send clear message they are tired of being ignored

Secondary school teachers Wednesday morning sent a strong signal to the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education of intensified action this year to press for a fair deal.

Some 200 members of the 500-strong Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) took to the streets of the capital in a “March of Respect” to demonstrate their disgust with the way the ministry was treating teachers.

High on their agenda was the vexing issue of payment for marking school-based assessment (SBA) projects administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), a demand Jones has repeatedly dismissed, often in the most unflattering of terms.

However, the educators said they had reached the end of their tether on several other issues as well, and they were not prepared to sit idly by and allow Government to give them “the run around”.

“This demonstration is just the beginning. At the beginning of the year we had a general meeting and we agreed that 2017 would be a different type of year. We are tired of writing letters, we are tired of being given the run around, we are tired of being dismissed and we are tired of being excluded. So this year is going to be a year of action. We have made that commitment to the membership, and the members are holding us to it because this march has resulted from a demand made of us as officers from the membership,” BSTU President Mary Redman said during a pause outside the office of the Personnel Administration Division on Culloden Road, St Michael, her voice amplified by a megaphone.

Clad in red shirts, the placard-waving teachers had assembled at Queen’s Park at 10 a.m. before beginning the march, which took them along St Michael’s Row, Bridge Street, and River Road.

An emotional Redman told the media she was overwhelmed by the response from teachers, even though there had been limited time for the BSTU executive to solicit support.

“We had very little time to plan and organize because in between there was sports, and that is why I am so happy at this turnout because we could not get into the schools to do our motivation,” she explained.

While today’s march had the support of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), noticeably absent were members of the executive of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT).

“NUPW has come out this morning even though today is their elections, so the president Akanni McDowall, he came out and spoke to us; sister Toni Moore [General Secretary of the BWU] turned out even though they are in some active negotiations with Sol. We also informed CTUSAB and BUT and asked them to support our principles in whatever way they deemed appropriate but we have not heard anything from them,” Redman revealed.

Despite this, the trade unionist said her organization had a proud legacy of effecting change for the benefit of all teachers, often with minimal support.

And she promised the union would never relent.

“I am very pleased with the turnout, we expected a good turnout but this has exceeded expectations. We are a small union, our membership is just about 500 – and part of that membership is made up of retirees – so we are pleased with the turnout today.

“We are a small union but we are forceful. We fight and punch far above our weight because we have that legacy. It is second oldest union in this country and  . . .  all of the benefits that teachers have won and enjoyed in this country have come as result of the BSTU, and that is no exaggeration,” Redman stressed.

13 Responses to We’re fed up!

  1. Carson C Cadogan April 5, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Look at all the Barbados Labour Party RED!!!!!

    • Jennifer April 6, 2017 at 4:38 am

      CCC – hahahahahahahaha you too sweet, with your tunnel vision.

    • harry turnover April 6, 2017 at 6:23 am

      Carson C….boy ya got a point…was asking myself why they had to put on red when I saw them down by Purity after I took my eyes off the lady in RED with the microphone.

  2. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore April 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I’m supportive of any individual or group who takes a stand anywhere for that which is considered to be right & for which there is a principle. The ministry headed by this tyrant of a minister has been disrespecting teacher & principals for the last nine years. When one considers that he was a teacher & the president of a teacher’s union…..

    • Jennifer April 6, 2017 at 4:47 am

      @Arthur collymore – I understand you. However you need to understand that he (minister) is like the majority of black people. That minister back then was a FIELD negro, working hard, toiling and having a stemming attitude down in the the docks. Now that he has been elevated to a HOUSE negro position and given a bunch of KEYS to open doors (think) he is now driving that paddy wagon of oppression. Different ball GAME. Watch all of this people and see how they will operate once they elevated >>>>>>>> and every body knows this too.

      • harry turnover April 6, 2017 at 6:26 am

        Exactly Jennifer…my former boss fitted that description to a T

  3. Lee R April 5, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    CCC, was does everything have to be political for you.

  4. Carrington April 6, 2017 at 7:14 am

    When the Minister of Education and the Minister of State were the top two in the Barbados Union of Teachers they would have marched about these issues. As former trade unionists what have they done to improve the educational system in Barbados and the conditions which teachers work?

  5. Saga Boy April 6, 2017 at 7:56 am

    These issues cannot be resolved by marching. In the meantime some of our children are suffering. The children are being punished. It is not fare. Teachers will take home less money because their pay will be docked. Time for them to stop the marching and sit down and talk. No wonder CXC is ignoring them.

  6. ernesta catlyn April 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Guys do your homework. Throughout the world the colour of the labour movement is red and has been before the BLP was wearing red. Take off the party blinkers.

  7. ernesta catlyn April 6, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Saga you should seek to find out how many correspondence were sent to try to get a sit down

  8. Nathaniel Samuels April 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Carson, maybe that is the colour of 2017 and all 2018 so you had better be prepared for it. The unions in Barbados need to take stock and push back against all the things that are being done to undermine them so there will be more action.
    Saga, sometimes one has to forego a payday in order to make aa point so that things improve in the long run.

  9. Alex Alleyne April 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    As I keep saying “everything in this world is political”. One day soon we will tell the politicans the same thing we tell the preacher man/woman. WE REPLACE YOUR FEAR ON US WITH KNOWLEDGE.


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