Union seeking legal advice
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Union Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said the union is seeking legal advice after the salaries of 75 C. H. Reeves Junior High School and Carlton Francis Primary School teachers were reportedly cut.
According to Wilson, the government has not worked in good faith with the union.
She said taking away teachers’ salaries during a time of hardship is “heartless”.
“The union is seeking legal advice on the matter and we will continue to fight for the rights of our members and ensure that their rights are protected,” she said in a WhatsApp broadcast.
The union president claimed Department of Education Acting Director Marcellus Taylor has refused to communicate directly with the union. She also accused the principals of carrying out “misguided acts” that contravene the union’s industrial agreement.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd could not be reached for comment up to press time.
On Tuesday night, BUT executives, including Wilson, sat in the galleria of the House of Assembly as parliamentarians debated the Harbour Dues (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Wilson briefly engaged Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in the foyer, requesting an intervention.
Teachers at the junior high school have been locked in contentious action with the administration, and claim they have been shut out of the classroom for the eighth consecutive week.
The BUT has been agitating about conditions at C.H. Reeves since last year.
In January, the BUT said teachers were prepared to action after an overwhelming majority of teachers who participated in a strike poll voted to strike.
Teachers have periodically refused to work due to those conditions, though the ministry has claimed the issues were either addressed or being addressed.
Meanwhile, teachers at the primary school have decried “unsanitary and unsafe working conditions” related to a reported lack of running water and ongoing construction.
In September, approximately 30 teachers protested on the school’s grounds after petitioning for the school’s principal to be removed.
At the time, Lloyd said he was awaiting a report on the matter to learn what the concerns were, but said there was a process and procedure with regard to grievances.