Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said yesterday that the union is asking for outstanding money and a better quality of life for its members, among other things, as it negotiates its new industrial agreement with the government.
Wilson said the union submitted its 2018 to 2021 draft industrial agreement to Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd and his permanent secretary last June.
She claimed that the February 28, 2019 deadline for the union to receive the government’s counterproposal has already past.
“The proposal has terms and conditions of service for our members, curriculum revision, grievance handling, rights of the employer, employee and the union among other articles; in addition to salaries, benefits and other emoluments, such as rental allowance,” Wilson explained.
“There was a meeting to discuss a list of concerns that negatively impact the quality of life for our members.
“These matters are, but not limited to: $1,000 lump sum payments owed from 2017, back pay, reassessment, reclassification, increments and outstanding monies owed to our members for many, many, many years.
“So, it was an opportune time to draw to the attention of the minister of finance and his team, the importance of paying our members and making allocations in the national budget in anticipation for this eventuality.
“The OECD and other international organizations have urged governments to spend more on education annually, [and] we look forward to the day that we can boast as a union and a country that adequate resources, both human and financial, have been invested in education.
“The Bahamas Union of Teachers expects to have the counterproposal forthwith.”
Lloyd told reporters outside Cabinet yesterday that his ministry has already assembled a team for the negotiations.
“There have been preliminary discussions already,” he said.
“We have received from them a proposal. We have prepared a counterproposal, and that is now in the process.
“Also the union executive team has met with the administration to discuss, basically money issues, which is of course, as you know, always the sticking point.”
The union has had several grievances over the past year, ranging from outstanding money, teacher shortages and working conditions in schools throughout the country and more.