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Teachers to lose pay - and may be replaced

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Jerome Fitzgerald

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday that teachers who do not participate in after school activities will have their pay cut and be “replaced if need be”.

Mr Fitzgerald’s comments came after Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson issued a cease order for teachers and coaches who normally participate in after school activities as the union began a work to rule throughout the country.

In a press release the BUT said the 4,000 teachers were advised that effective Wednesday, November 6, 2013 they will report to school at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 3:15 p.m.

On Tuesday Ms Wilson said coaches are also participating in the action and all after school sporting activities and events will be suspended until further notice.

Speaking with The Tribune, Mr Fitzgerald said teachers and coaches are paid to perform those duties and if they fail to show up, they will not be paid and will be replaced.

“With regard to the after school activities, those teachers who perform after school activities are paid to perform those activities and so I would be very surprised to find out the teachers or coaches will forfeit the funds they receive from the ministry for those after school activities. If they do so ,we will find other people to replace them, it is as simple as that. I want to make it clear that the president of the union nor the BUT runs the Ministry of Education, that falls under me as Minister and we will continue to administer the schools as we see fit. The quicker the BUT and the president understands that concept and the fact that they will not have free will to come on to campus as they see fit, the quicker they come to that realization the better,” he said.

“They have gone to the Minister of Labour, they have gone to the department of Labour and they have gone to the Prime Minister, now they are talking about going to Dr Myles Munroe, but the position is the same. We will run the schools in the way that there is order and in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement and nowhere in that agreement is the president permitted or BUT members permitted to go on any school campus as they see fit, they gave shop stewards in every single school dealing with union affairs and that is not going to change. If they do not want to do it, they won’t be paid and we will find someone else who will do it and I assume by the president telling them not to report, knowing they will lose money for this, the BUT must be able to compensate them for it because I cannot see anyone in their right mind who has a job not assisting kids because of this issue.

“The public doesn’t understand what this is all about, we are also bewildered by it, but if the president and the BUT thinks that this is going to cause us to change our position with regard to access to the schools, it will not happen. The quicker we get past this the quicker we can get on with dealing with the affairs of the MOE and educating our children, but this makes no sense.”

Mr Fitzgerald also said the government fully intends to pay the teachers money owed to them, but cannot do so in one lump sum payment.

“When I became minister,” he said, “I ensured that I set up a unit within the ministry who worked overtime for eight to nine months. I authorized the payment of tens of thousands of dollars in overtime to have that done. We found out that the accumulative amount of $4.5 million was owed to teachers, $1 million as paid in June. I got workers with the Ministry of Finance and got them to put the other $3.5 million in this budget year. I have said all of this before. I do not know why the president and the BUT have not understood this. Finance has said this, they will be paid, we will pay the funds to them during the course of this year when it becomes available. That $3.5 million will be paid to the teachers this year and so I do not understand what the work to rule is all about.
If the BUT and the president thinks this is going to some way put pressure on me as the minister or the ministry to allow them to have free will in the schools, they might be in the right church, but they are totally in the wrong pew. It is not going to happen.”

Mr Fitzgerald said the first payment to the teachers will be made before Christmas.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 8 years, 10 months ago

So they'll be paid this year. First payment will go out before Christmas. So first checks will go in within the next 6 weeks or so. When will the second and the third? Within the next s 6 weeks or so?

Do they even know when they are lying?

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Pampa 8 years, 10 months ago

Get back and teach our dumb troubled children, Half y'all teachers are the blame!!! That's why this country can't be better!!! Won't they get the money eventually?!!!

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john33xyz 8 years, 10 months ago

He can't replace the teachers (except with foreigners) because there is NO WAY for a Bahamian to become a teacher !!!!!!!!!

You have to be hired as a teacher trainee in order to become a teacher. There is NO WAY to obtain the schedule for teacher training courses at COB, and there is no way to attend these courses (which are held during working hours M-F) unless you are either rich or are being paid as a govt teacher with approved leave for training.

Even if you go away and get teaching certificate in Florida or Canada - it is not enough for you to be hired by the govt min of educ - you still have to take some courses at COB (again for which you can get NO INFO until you are hired).

It is a rigged system to ensure that only "people the union approves of" are ever hired as teachers because they know they will join the union and be "one of the family".


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1voice 8 years, 10 months ago

Every time I look at the news today, our teachers are asking for money. I do not understand whey they are looking for money when our children come out of school not knowing how to read. I am of the opinion, that pay raises for teachers should be commensurate based on the level of the children they teach. There should be an independent evaluation, of the students. I do believe that teachers are part of the problem with our educational system now; the parents, government and the students themselves the rest of it. But this is a whole soup pot of dysfunction that has been going on for years.

Keeping people dumb to ensure a victory in an election is no longer kicking it, because those same dumb persons, are having children and so on. Who is teaching anyone, the teachers? Apparently not because our students still cannot read.

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