The University of The Bahamas (UB) said yesterday that it is unable to meet the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas’ (UTEB) proposal of a $3,500 lump sum payment and seven percent salary increase for its members.
“The University of The Bahamas can no longer conduct business in the manner in which it operated in the past,” it said in a statement.
“There must be complete accountability at all levels and budgets must be strictly followed.
“The university is not able to meet these new demands of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas; particularly given the anticipated expenses associated with restoring University of The Bahamas-North campus in Grand Bahama which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian.
“UTEB executives are fully aware of this.”
UB also said that it has remained transparent in all discussions with executives of the union.
It added that since UTEB presented its financial counter proposal after the Board of Trustees approved the 2019-2020 budget, it was agreed that the union and the university would work together on arriving at a solution regarding financial compensation.
“The solution included paying each faculty member an immediate $1,000 lump sum and implementing increases ranging from two to six percent, while extending the top of the salary scales,” UB said.
“This is what was proposed by the president of UTEB. The UTEB president also proposed a contract signing for November 10, 2019. The university agreed.”
UB added that both sides also agreed that all financial negotiations would be completed up front to allow for proper annual budgeting throughout the new Industrial Agreement’s term instead of waiting for the end of the contract negotiations to discuss finances, as has been the practice.
On Tuesday, UTEB publicly rejected the university’s proposed 82-cents-per-day salary increase, labelling it as a “slap in the face”.
Union members are also peeved over stalled negotiations with UB for its Industrial Agreement, which expired in 2017.
The last time union members received a salary increase was nine years ago, according to UTEB President Daniel Thompson.
UB said that prior to October 31, the university and union executives arrived at an agreement, but on November 5 the union “provided the public with erroneous information”.
The university also said that on November 6, Thompson issued an email to all faculty reminding them not to participate in school meetings, department meetings, the Academic Senate and faculty board meetings.
UB said, “So far, several university events have been affected and the UB Act mandated Academic Senate meeting had to be postponed because faculty senators did not attend.”