General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore is staying clear of the latest controversy between the Ministry of Education and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) over pay.
Making it clear to reporters last night that she did not want “to stir up an ants’ nest”, Moore outrightly refused to comment on the ministry’s decision to dock the pay of unionized teachers who attended two recent meetings called by the BUT.
Even though BUT President Pedro Shepherd has suggested that the matter held implications for the entire trade union movement and has promised to refer it to the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSA), Moore said she was not fully apprised of the situation, therefore she preferred to stay out of the matter at this stage.
“I would need to be more informed and I try not to step my foot into issues that might be stirring up an ants’ nest that I am not familiar with,” the BWU boss stressed.
She said “docking of pay” was not an issue that her union was confronted with.
“I think that’s a question that would be better answered by those who are suitably informed on the matter, those in the BSTU and the BUT perhaps, because that’s not an issue currently that we have to deal with, But if and when the moment comes, you can believe that we will deal with it accordingly,” the union leader added.
Asked if her union was backing the teachers’ unions in their ongoing impasse with the education ministry, Moore also said the BWU had not been asked for such support from either union.
“It is customary that we give solidarity where solidarity is requested and the unions have not come to the Barbados Workers Union for solidarity support as yet,” she pointed out.
However, Moore said her union was on record as stating that these issues affecting the education sector must be treated very sensitively.
“And it is still our view that any solidarity support that we offer should be kept out of the realm of the public where I think these discussions need to reside.
“There are issues involving teachers and issues involving teachers and minors; and for that reason especially, we need to take the discussion away from the public domain where emotions will flare and get into what otherwise should be meaningful discussions towards a resolution,” the BWU General Secretary said.