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Negotiations Suspended Amid Conflict At Teaching Union

THE Ministry of Education has suspended negotiations with the Bahamas Union of Teachers for a new bargaining agreement in view of an expected court fight between embattled union president Belinda Wilson and members of the BUT’s executive committee.

In a statement released yesterday, the ministry said it has taken note of the recent escalation of disputes among the executives of the union and the fact that it has become a legal issue.

The ministry added that during the past month, ministry officials and the BUT executive team headed by Vice President Zane Lightbourne made “significant strides and have concluded the substantive part of the bargaining agreement”.

The statement added: “The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has also made a financial proposal with the aim of bringing that to a conclusion in short order. However, due to the impending legal battle and the matter before the courts, the ministry has decided to suspend negotiations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement until the legal matter is resolved.”

The ministry said the Collective Bargaining Agreement dictates that the union’s secretary general is the individual authorised to communicate and conduct business on behalf of the BUT with respect to the present agreement. The ministry said it will continue to have discussion with the secretary general with matters affecting members under the present agreement.

When contacted about the matter yesterday, Mrs Wilson said the internal affairs of the union have “absolutely nothing” to do with the Ministry of Education.

Last week, Mrs Wilson was granted an injunction barring the union’s executive committee from interfering as she carries out her duties on behalf of the organisation.

However, union Secretary General John Musgrove told The Tribune that while the committee will adhere to the court injunction for the time being, lawyers were working to appeal it.

The organisation has been involved in a dispute ever since the executive committee announced the suspension of Mrs Wilson and the group’s treasurer in December.

An appeal panel overturned the suspension last month, however the executive committee has refused to accept the decision.

Comments

duppyVAT 7 years, 3 months ago

This is how the members will be disadvantaged as a result of the Executive Council not providing proper leadership and accountability. The members should call for an immediate AGM and fire ALL of them ........... and have a new leadership team run that Union.

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