Government will begin formal negotiations with BUT soon
The Ministry of Education is gearing up to begin formal negotiations with the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) “within days”, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday.
On Friday, BUT President Belinda Wilson said the union was preparing to give the ministry an ultimatum over stalled negotiations over its expired industrial agreement.
But Lloyd said, “I can’t speak about the conclusion of negotiations, you know the way negotiations are, but they will commence within days…with the union.
“We’re pretty much prepped and ready to go in terms of both sides, our team and the union.”
Wilson also hit out at the ministry for failing to submit a counterproposal to the union’s 2018-2021 draft industrial agreement.
Lloyd said, “The counterproposal has already been prepared and they’re being submitted as we speak to the union leadership.”
When contacted yesterday, Wilson said the union had not yet received the government’s proposal.
Although negotiations have not officially commenced, the minister said he and other government officials have been in talks with the union.
“I’ve had conversations with the president,” Lloyd said.
“The deputy prime minister and his team has had conversations with the president, and, of course, the president has met with the prime minister.
“So, you know, while there [have] not been formal negotiations with the union there have been conversations and discussion and those formal negotiations are going to begin.”
The minister said negotiations with the union will not be “bitter” or tense once they begin.