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UB proposing to cut staff salaries by 20 percent

The University of The Bahamas’ (UB) Board of Trustees is considering 20 percent salary cuts as well as 50/50 insurance contributions at the university, The Nassau Guardian understands.

The Guardian understands that it is also considering sending faculty over 65, as well as faculty with 30 to 40 years of service, into retirement.

The board is reportedly considering an increase in faculty load and class sizes and an elimination of mileage and non-essential staff positions, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Some of the new measures, if implemented, would have to be negotiated with the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB).

The union’s industrial agreement notes that the retirement age for faculty is 70.

It also notes that faculty, inclusive of those who supervise students on methods and teaching practices, who are required to use their vehicles to carry out assigned professional duties not on the main campus, should receive a mileage allowance of $2 per mile.

The Bahamas, like many other countries, is facing a recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bahamian economy came to a near halt when the government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as the closure of The Bahamas’ borders to Bahamians, residents and visitors in March in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

On April 16, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the government had requested its various ministries and agencies to “find savings in their budgets” to help it navigate its fiscal goals.

One month later, while presenting 2020/2021 budget, Turnquest noted that the government would have to borrow $1.3 billion as a result of the effects of the pandemic and Hurricane Dorian, which ravaged the northern Bahamas in September and caused $3.4 billion in damage and losses.

Despite this, UB saw no changes in its operational budget for the upcoming budgetary year.

It was allocated $30,744,773 during the 2019/2020 budgetary year and during the 2020/2021 budgetary year.

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