Categorized | National News

Teachers Defy Orders, Take Full Day Off

Hundreds of teachers stayed away from the classroom on Friday despite a circular being issued for them to work a half day on World Teacher’s Day.

Director of Education Lionel Sands told The Bahama Journal on Friday that the circular was still in effect and teachers should have worked a half day.

When asked if the teachers who took the full day off would be penalised he said, “we’ll see.”

Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President, Belinda Wilson said education director was being “disingenuous and dishonest.”

“Every year, for the last five years, we have had the day off on World Teacher’s Day,” she told nearly 200 teachers who gathered at Workers Hall on Bethel Avenue Friday morning.

“As the head of the department, where were your 4,000 teachers on October 7, 2011? This is nothing new and is a part of provisions in our collective bargaining agreement. Where was he in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and last year?”

Mrs. Wilson, along with several executives, met with Director of Labour Harcourt Brown last Thursday after filing a trade dispute a day earlier.

“Mr. Brown said the employer is in breach of the collective bargaining agreement and that the union had a reasonable expectation of the day off because the union had the day off last year and that no employer can unilaterally change or alter the terms of the agreement, which is a binding agreement on the union and the government without consultation,” she told the teachers who gathered on Friday.

“Hence, the director’s findings were that the union shall have the day off as a full day because of the breaches and because precedent has been set.”

She also responded to the possibility of being penalised as a result of taking the day off.

“The law is on our side,” the BUT president said.

“If they try to threaten and intimidate teachers by cutting your pay, our lawyers are on notice and we are prepared to go as far as the Supreme Court to fight for your rights and it is sad today that we have to be here when 182 countries and 30 million teachers are celebrating, we are here lamenting and fighting for our rights.”

Mrs. Wilson added that she wants a public apology from Mr. Sands.

The Journal attempted to speak to Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald but was told that he was off the island and managing the bye-election campaign in Abaco.

Written by Jones Bahamas

One Response to “Teachers Defy Orders, Take Full Day Off”

  1. Markanthony says:

    Excellent piece on this story. Our teachers need more recognition and more pay.


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