UTEB asking for seven percent salary increase

Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) President Daniel Thompson said yesterday that the union will ask for a seven percent salary increase for its members at the University of The Bahamas (UB) after the institution proposed an 82-cents-per-day increase. 

Dozens of UTEB members gathered outside UB yesterday to protest the university’s  82 cents proposal, calling it a “slap in the face”.

 Union members are also peeved over stalled negotiations with UB for its Industrial Agreement, which expired in 2017.

However, the university indicated in a statement yesterday that it agreed three weeks ago “to the date of November 10, 2019” to sign the Industrial Agreement. 

“For clarification, the university, not the government, presented a financial proposal to the union in June 2019,” the statement said.

“UTEB returned with a counter proposal in August 2019, after the university’s 2019/2020 budget was approved by the Board of Trustees. The university presented another proposal in October 2019.

“Last week, the president of UTEB called the president of UB and indicated that the latest UB proposal was rejected and that he would be bringing back another proposal from the union. The university is still awaiting that proposal from the executives of UTEB.”

UTEB expects to present a counter proposal to the university today.

Thompson indicated that the purpose of their demonstration was to highlight “the insensitivity and [comical] submission” given by the university.

“To present to professionals, who have trained for 10 and sometimes 12 and 13 years to get where they are, and present them with an 82-cents-a-day proposal is [comical],” Thompson said.

“It’s insulting and while I see the president’s response saying that negotiations are going very well, I submit that if you were to submit an 82-cent proposal, what’s so good about that?

“What does he expect us to do? Sit down and have dinner over 82 cents? Absolutely not.”

Thompson indicated that UTEB is requesting a seven percent increase in salaries and $3,500 to $4,000 in compensation for each member over the stalled negotiations.

The last time union members received a salary increase was nine years ago, according to Thompson.  

Thompson said his members have voted against withdrawing their presence from the classroom.

“We believe in academia, where integrity [and] honesty is paramount in what we do,” Thompson said.

“We are confident that we would reach an amicable solution.

“Notwithstanding what has happened in the past, we are still holding out the olive branch to ask the senior administration team to be reasonable, to come let’s reason together…and let’s discuss this matter.”

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