Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has promised that “some fairly substantial amendments” are to be made to the Public Service Act.
The promise came during a recent meeting with officials of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), at which he reported that substantial work had already been done and expressed hope that the amended Act would be completed during the first half of this year.
Just last week, the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) publicly complained that the Act was putting undue pressure and strain on some public servants, with President Cedric Murrell calling for changes to how vacancies were filled and for an amendment to the Act.
During his near two-hour meeting at Ilaro Court, which was attended by BUT President Pedro Shepherd and other top officials of the teachers’ union, the Prime Minister said Government had taken on board changes suggested by the unions and that they would be invited to give feedback on the draft legislation.
The meeting also zeroed in on the relationship between the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education and the unions, with the Prime Minister stating that he was pleased that the Ministry had put in place a system for regular consultations with the unions. In fact, Stuart said he attached great importance to the work of teachers since they were entrusted with the shaping of young minds.
Shepherd said he also looked forward to regular discussions with the Ministry. During the meeting with the Prime Minister, he also took the opportunity to highlight a number of issues of concern, following his interview with Barbados TODAY earlier this month in which he took issue with what he said was an apparent policy change on study leave for teachers. He had also said the BUT was seeking clarification on the policy which relates to term leave for teachers.