Nearly 80 per cent of the teachers who attended two recent meetings called by the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) have suffered a pay cut this month, BUT President Pedro Shepherd yesterday reported.
However, he again warned that his union was not about to take the matter lying down, but would be responding “in due course”.
“We have a number of teachers who have reported to us that their pay for the month of May was docked. Some calculated for the two days, some calculated for one,” Shepherd revealed.
In letter dated May 6 and signed by the Permanent Secretary June Chandler, teachers were informed by the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education that “in accordance with Section 3.3.2 of the General Orders, you are hereby advised that the salaries of those officers, who attended without permission, the Barbados Union of Teachers meetings held on April 29 and May 4, 2016, respectively, should be proportionately abated for the month of May, 2016.”
Yesterday Shepherd pointed out that as a result of the ministry’s decision, as many as 50 teachers at one school had been affected by the salary deductions, adding that while the union did not have a total count, “I believe that about 75 to 80 per cent of the persons who attended the meetings had their pay docked”.
However, he expressed concern that there were a number of inconsistencies, which he said the BUT would address in the days ahead.
The two meetings that led to the salary deductions were held during school hours but the BUT president continues to insist that his members did not take strike action.
“We did not strike, we had meetings. When we are striking believe you me, we are going to tell Barbados that we are striking,” he maintained.
He also revealed that the teachers’ union currently did not have a “strike fund” from which to pay teachers but said: “if the BUT strikes and we have to pay teachers we would pay them, but we never had reason to pay teachers for coming to meetings.”
He also disclosed that a meeting was likely to take place with ministry officials next week at which the union planned to raise the matter.