BUT warns of discrepancies with new teaching service appointments

Following the recent announcement of over 700 appointments to the teaching service, the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) says it is headed back to the Ministry of Education and the Personal Administration Division to have some discrepancies addressed.

“Currently we sent out information in the schools and there were about 27 or so persons on our list . . . who would have been working from as far back as 2006 who were not appointed in the 749. So we now have to make representation on their behalf,” BUT President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, while making it clear this was not the only area of concern.

He also pointed out that while the newly appointed teachers would have all applied back in 2013, the appointment dates were not all the same.

“I see this as a discrepancy and I believe other teachers would as well . . . . Remember that the advertisement would have come out in 2013 and persons applied – about 900 persons applied. The BUT’s position was for those persons who applied in 2013 for appointments to have the same appointment date.

“[However] you have some of those who came in the first cohort, the 416, some of them would have a 2015 date, the second set they got December 28th of 2016 and then you have another set getting dates all up in January 2017. Those are some of the things we will be dealing with the ministry,” Shepherd told Barbados TODAY.

He said the situation had implications not only for the teachers’ social security benefits, but also their perceived level of seniority in the teaching service.

“This impacts on the NIS [National Insurance payments], gratuity on retirement and seniority . . . . It means that, for example, a person teaching for three or four years [who] got appointed ahead of somebody who we are now agitating for with 12 or so years in the system, that person [with less experience] would be senior to that person [with fewer years], so we also have to look at the seniority component as well.”

The BUT president also sought to warn the teachers that though were in receipt of the “initial” letters from the ministry, the process was not complete until they were issued with “confirmation” letters.

“There is a letter of confirmation that should follow. Some of them [teachers] were chosen at random to submit medical records. The deadline for that I think is July 28, so the process is still ongoing [which means] even though they would have received the initial letter, technically they would not have been appointed as yet and we would have also to wait for them to be gazetted as well.”

He emphasized that there were some teachers “who would have received the initial letter and would have spent 30 something years in the service, even before they received the confirmation letter.

“Also, there is a probationary period that those persons who were chosen at random they would have to go through a probationary period before the confirmation is done,” Shepherd explained, adding that confirmation was something that was problematic throughout the public service.

The BUT spokesman further revealed that there were cases where persons had applied for their retirement only to realize that they had not yet received letters of confirmation.

“So, we are hoping that throughout this exercise, the teachers for sure are taken care of in terms of their confirmation letters.

“The consequence of non-confirmation is that you cannot get your gratuity and your pension and so on, unless you are confirmed. If there is no confirmation letter at the time of your retirement, then you would have to apply for that.  It has some bearing on your National Insurance contributions as well,” he stressed.

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