UB says it cannot meet union’s financial demands

UB says it cannot meet union’s financial demands

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The University of The Bahamas is unable to meet the demands of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) in the negotiations of its new industrial agreement, officials said yesterday.

The statement follows the union’s demonstration outside of the university’s campus on Wednesday, where UTEB President Daniel Thompson announced that members had agreed to take action if their demands were not met.

Thompson said the union has “resoundingly rejected” the university’s proposal of an 82 cent a day salary increase for its members.

The union’s industrial agreement has been expired since 2017 and negotiations have been ongoing to date.

“The University of The Bahamas can no longer conduct business in the manner in which it operated in the past,” said university officials.

“There must be complete accountability at all levels and budgets must be strictly followed.

“The University is not able to meet these new demands of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas; particularly given the anticipated expenses associated with restoring University of The Bahamas-North campus in Grand Bahama which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

“UTEB executives are fully aware of this.”

The university further revealed that an email from the UTEB president, dated November 6th – following the union’s demonstration – outlined a counterproposal to the university’s offer.

The proposal included a $3,500 lump sum payment for July 2017 to June 2019 and a seven percent salary increase from July 2019.

The university’s statement maintained that both parties had agreed, nearly three weeks ago, to the date of November 10, 2019 for the signing of the Industrial Agreement for 2017 – 2020, for a different proposal.

The university has said virtually all terms of the agreement had been agreed, except for finances.

“It was agreed that since UTEB presented its financial counter proposal to the university after the Board of Trustees had approved the 2019-2020 budget, the union and the university would work together on arriving at a solution regarding financial compensation,” the statement continued.

“The solution included paying each faculty member an immediate $1,000 lump sum and implementing increases ranging from two to six percent, while extending the top of the salary scales. 

“This is what was proposed by the President of UTEB.”

The university said UB President Rodney Smith received a call from UTEB indicating that the latest proposal was rejected by his members and that he would be presenting another proposal from the union. 

“The University has remained transparent in all discussions with executives of the union,” the statement read.

The university also revealed that on Wednesday, the union president issued a faulty-wide email reminding faculty that they were to stop participation in school meetings, department meeting, Academic Senate meetings and Faculty Board meetings.

“So far, several university events have been affected and the UB Act mandated Academic Senate meeting had to be postponed because faculty senators did not attend,” the statement added.

When reached out for comment on the matter yesterday, Thompson cried shame on the University for releasing private emails between the parties and refuted the university’s claims.

“What we will not do is to engage in bringing into the public sphere, emails of communication between the president of UTEB and the president of the University of The Bahamas,” he said.

“It will only brig down our institution and UTEB intends to take the high ground.”