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Industrial agreement talks stalled, BUT claims

The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) is preparing to give the Ministry of Education an ultimatum over what BUT President Belinda Wilson has called stalled negotiations over the union’s expired industrial agreement.

Wilson told reporters yesterday that it is unacceptable that the union has still not received a counterproposal from the ministry.

“To date I do not have a counterproposal,” Wilson said.

“I do not have any information from education as to who are the members of their team and we do not have a counterproposal.

“However, I promise you they will get a letter by Monday and they are going to be given seven days for us to get to the table because our agreement would have expired from June 30, 2018.”

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 deadline for the union to receive the government’s counterproposal has already passed.

She warned that if the government does not come to the table, the union will have to file a trade dispute.

“It’s sickening that we cannot follow the policies or the laws that are presently in place,” she continued.

“And what is even worse is when education or the government does not communicate with you.

“If you are presented with a document nine months ago, and they are having a challenge getting us a counterproposal, then write to us formally.

“We wrote to you formally…so if you’re having a challenge just communicate with us,. ‘Hey we’ve got you’re document. We’re still working on it. However, we need a few more weeks or a few more days’. We could understand that.

“And that is how we get into these adversarial issues.”

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd told reporters earlier this month 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 have met with the administration to discuss, basically money issues, which is of course as you know always the sticking point.”

The union is asking for outstanding monies and a better quality of life for its members, among other things, as it negotiates its new industrial agreement.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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