Teachers’ union calls truce in row with ministry

The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) is putting further industrial action on hold in response to progress in a row with the Ministry of Education over the “unfair dismissal” of three of its members.

BSTU President Mary Redman Tuesday afternoon announced there was movement at last from Government after teachers failed  to report for work last Friday, a day after walking out early in solidarity with the fired educators.

Mary Redman

Three secondary schools – Combermere, Graydon Sealy Secondary and St George Secondary – were the worst affected and were forced to close early.

“This evening we were able to update our members on the status of three cases of unfair dismissal. In one instance a letter has been written to the Minister of Labour seeking her intervention in the matter and in the next instance a letter has gone off to the Chief Labour Officer in an effort to resolve that matter and in the third instance we finally got word from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service that we are having our grievance procedure on the 23rd of May. So after eight months we are actually going to get that grievance procedure,” Redman told the media soon after an emergency meeting at Solidarity House with the membership.

“Industrial action has been averted in so far as we have gotten the grievance procedure that we needed to get and we are of the belief that common sense, decency, caring, empathy will prevail and we will be able to address the other two matters at the levels at which they have been taken up to,” she added.

Upset over the sacking of a St Michael School teacher, a principal at the Barbados Learning Centre and a laboratory technician at Combermere School, the teachers’ union had met last Wednesday behind closed doors for a marathon session, at the conclusion of which they agreed that a drastic response was needed to what they claimed was scant respect for the industrial relations process.

Industrial action began the following day when teachers from Combermere walked out of the classroom early, disrupting classes from around 1 p.m. on Thursday, followed by Friday’s apparent sick-out.

The BSTU never admitted to orchestrating last week’s action, but pressed today to say whether the mass absences had forced the ministry to revive the negotiation process, Redman dodged the question, preferring instead to state that her union was prepared to use any effective strategy to get Government to listen to teachers’ grievances.

“I would like to know what truly grabs the attention of the powers that be because if I knew the union would certainly use that strategy to get the things attended to. So I would really love to know myself how to grab attention of the powers that be and how to get long outstanding matters resolved,” she said tongue-in-cheek.

She also cautioned that the truce would hold only as long as the authorities continued to take the teachers’ concerns seriously.

11 Responses to Teachers’ union calls truce in row with ministry

  1. Saga Boy May 17, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I can’t wait to hear the outcome of these grievances. She has obviously opted for conciliation as opposed to the ERA route since the dismissal could not qualify as unfair dismissals and more than three months has gone since the dismissals. Since the Combermere matter was already dealt with at the level of the CLO and the union did not get its way it is now referring it to the MOL. Now why did Mary not just simply go to the next level in the grievance procedure instead of disrupting the whole country with her nonsense. When did she realize there was another step? So Mary writes two letters to the CLO and MOL and she is patiently waiting the outcome. Mary has been forced to pull back because the public is now aware that her son contract was simply not renewed at SMS and the employee at Combermere was correctly dismissed while on probation.

  2. Jennifer May 17, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Non-productive, emotional, waste of time jokers.

  3. Harry May 17, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Sago boy are saying her son’s contract was not renewed? then surely she should not be involved in this particular issue.

  4. Saga Boy May 17, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Harry, common sense should dictate that when she meets with the CLO on the matter relating to her son that she will step aside and let someone else handle it.

  5. Mark My Word May 17, 2017 at 11:52 am

    The Union makes us stronger Solidarity for ever
    Forward ever, backwards never
    Despite the Mental Slavery that still exist in the educated and uneducated masses
    Without the Union we are heading back into Slavery, the writing is on the wall. The private sector is now enticing the big wigs from the Unions and giving them big jobs to destabilized the BWU.
    You have been warned take heed.

    • Jennifer May 17, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      @MMW – Although what you are saying is correct. Slavery never really ended at all and this is the biggest camouflage ever in history. Things have just evolved. The Collins is now the pen and tie and you are still the SAME spot in terms of wealth. Children now have to go to school to graduate and get sirtifficates and masters to go where?? >>>>>>>> into THEIR factories, stores, companies, eating joints, gas stations, supermarkets, hotels etc. Mind you the oppressor keeps on finding new areas to stab to get blood with the unions either in a vice grip or in their back pockets. The more things change the more they remain the SAME.

  6. Judy May 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I am requesting that a reporter investigate the dismissal of Ms. Redman son Vadim Lourdinot from the St. Michael School. And make the facts known to the public.
    The St. Michael School tolerated his inefficient ways for far too long, and those children who did not support atheism like him were ridiculed in class every math and physics sessions.
    He never completed half of the syllabus each year yet he was allowed to keep his job because of fear of his mother.

  7. Milli Watt May 17, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    (a very very very looooonnnngggggggggggg) sssttttuuuuppppsssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……….

  8. joan Worrell May 17, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    My grandmother always said that the world is full of educated fools and gaining ” nuff sustificates” don’t make you a sensible person. I wonder if Mary and the other members of the BSTU ever had an older head in the family to give them that kind of advice. The decent and honourable thing for her to do, is to resign from the post of president of the BSTU, hand over to a younger person, get back to the classroom at Lodge and enjoy her last days of working life, teaching and guiding children towards a better way forward, than currently exists at schools across Barbados.

  9. Saga Boy May 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Mark My Word does not have a clue about which they speak. You need to find out about the working conditions which exist at the union and ask yourself how many reasonable persons would continue to work there. Low salaries …no overtime….etc. ask someone who works there when last they got a wage increase. Ask someone who works there or any former employee about how staff was treated under the last GS. Find out why they laid off 6 staff members in the last year and recently hired the former GS’s daughter and them come here and discuss the question mental slavery. It is the BWU that is destabilizing itself.

  10. Sarifa Patel May 17, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    The irony is that when Miss Redman was teaching half the time she never showed up for classes according to some teachers and students and I hope this is a rumour and not facts. It really hard on students who want to learn and teachers who want to teach. My former math teacher told me she thank God she’s retired and not involved in these constant controversies.


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