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C. H. Reeves teachers vote to strike

The majority of teachers at C.H. Reeves Junior High School voted to strike on Friday, according to Director of Labour John Pinder, who added that there might be an issue with certifying the vote.

Teachers held a strike vote over “substandard conditions” at the school.

According to Pinder, 69 of the 74 teachers at the school took part in the vote. Sixty-eight voted to strike and one voted against it, he said.

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday he is confident the government and the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) can reach an agreement.

Pinder said he believes there might be a challenge in certifying the vote because only the teachers from C.H. Reeves voted.

He said the law does not prevent a strike poll from being conducted, but noted that there was a recent ruling that found that if a union takes a strike vote, it cannot discriminate against its members.

“The entire membership has to have a chance to vote,” he said.

“So, there may be some challenges with certifying that vote.”

Members of the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) encountered a similar issue earlier this year.

The nurses held a strike vote on June 7, but that was declared null and void after it was discovered that there were certain islands where nurses were not able to vote.

A new strike vote was held last week and the majority of nurses who voted, voted to strike.

Teachers at C.H. Reeves have raised concerns about mold and water leakages in classrooms, termite and rat infestations and non-functioning bathrooms, among other issues.

In October, the teachers refused to work due to those issues.

Lloyd has said that “every issue complained about by the teachers [has] been or [is] being aggressively addressed”.

In the House of Assembly last month, Lloyd said the teachers at C.H. Reeves have blatantly ignored the grievance procedures outlined in the industrial agreement between the BUT and the government.

“They have also disregarded the expert opinion of those at the Environmental Monitoring [and] Risk Assessment Division,” he said.

“Most of all, they have reneged on their responsibilities and neglected the education of our youth, the future of our nation.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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