BUT President “hopeful” for upcoming industrial negotiations

BUT President “hopeful” for upcoming industrial negotiations
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President, Belinda Wilson.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – While talks have yet to resume for the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) industrial agreement, the union’s president Belinda Wilson said she is encouraged by the recent contract signing with doctors.

“The Bahamas Union of Teachers has not been to the table from June 19, 2019,” Wilson told reporters, on the sidelines of Bahamas Business Outlook.

“I would have written a letter to the permanent secretary as recently as two days ago and I would have given them approximately 14 days of possible dates that we can resume negotiations.

“So based on her reply that I received yesterday, she will get back to me next week, confirming the dates for us to resume.”

Wilson noted that the union has about 80 articles in its agreement, but have only discussed 10 with officials. 

She said she is hopeful that once the union can get to the table within the next seven to 14 days, they will be able to “speedily” come to a resolution on the non-financial matters and terms and conditions of service for its 4,000 members and the financial matters and allowances for teachers.

“I must say that I’m very hopeful after hearing what the nurses and the doctors would have signed onto yesterday, and as you know, teachers we teach every profession, so I look forward to our negotiations resuming and us having a speedy conclusion and sign off on our agreement,” Wilson added.

The Public Hospitals Authority signed an industrial agreement with the Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) on Wednesday that spans from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021.

Last week, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said that his ministry was in the process of resuming negotiations with the BUT and expected them to be conducted with no issues.

Lloyd also noted that both the BUT and the Bahamas Educational Managers Union are in the process of renegotiating their industrial agreement.

Throughout last year, the BUT pushed back against the government over issues of “unsanitary conditions” at C.H. Reeves junior high school; a divide between staff members at Carlton E. Francis Primary over what teachers claimed to be “unfair” treatment; and money owed to its members, among other concerns.