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Wilson: Talks On Agreement For Teachers Next Month

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By RIEL MAJOR

Tribune Staff Reporter

rmajor@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers officials are expected to resume negotiations over a new industrial agreement with the Ministry of Education next month, according to BUT President Belinda Wilson.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Ministry of Education conclave yesterday, Mrs Wilson said the new industrial agreement is moving “slowly, but steadily.”

She said: “We have been to the table about four times and we would have completed our last session in June.

“. . .And, we will resume on September 18, but I’m saying…that we are very far from the financial aspect of our agreement because we are only on cursory matters now. We have 70 clauses and we maybe on clause 10 so I foresee us getting to the matter sometime in October and November.”

Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also said negotiations are ongoing.

Mr Lloyd said: “That’s now at the Ministry of Finance so they’re working out the money, that’s the big part. Everything is about the money and I mean they have their (little) issues.”

In January, The Tribune reported that the union’s proposed industrial agreement featured a 20 percent pay increase over three years among other demands.

Teachers, Mrs Wilson insisted at the time, deserved this raise as they serve in a profession that requires a bachelor’s degree prior to permanent employment at the entry level.

The union leader said a higher cost of living is another reason why teachers needed a raise.

Back then, Mr Lloyd also said the ministry was working on a counterproposal.

However, he said, BUT’s demands had to be contextualised with the requests of other unions, adding that for too long issues like these have been one-sided.

He said the country needed to move to a point where accountability is also factored into union negotiations. Nonetheless, he said, the raise could only be considered as far as the country’s finances allowed.

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