Trouble may be brewing at the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB), as some tutors are upset over protracted wage issues.
The National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) today called on Government to urgently address the issue of commensurate pay for vocational tutors, known as demonstrators, whose workload has increase as a result of a curriculum upgrade three years ago.
“The National Union of Public Workers is extremely concerned that to date demonstrators at the Barbados Vocational Training Board have not received an upgrade in their salary,” the union stated in a release this morning.
While the union did not go into details as to their response might be if the issue is not soon resolved, the NUPW said that “it would not be business as usual until demonstrators receive their upgrade of pay.”
The NUPW did not directly threaten industrial action, but the union suggested that discontentment was on the boil and could escalate to the point where workers took more serious action.
“This unresolved issue has caused gross discontentment among demonstrators to the extent that industrial unrest can potentially climax with the employees taking protest action,” the NUPW contended.
According to acting NUPW Deputy General Secretary Wayne Walrond, even after several meetings with the BTVB and one with the Ministry of the Civil Service within the last three years, no definitive headway has been made on the issue.
“Under the upgraded curriculum, demonstrators have increased responsibilities which include teaching Barbados Vocational Qualification (BVQ), Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ),” the media release said.
“While the teaching staff has embraced the changes in good faith, they are extremely aggrieved with the failure of the relevant authorities to grant them the corrected pay grade, which should be on par with instructors at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology,” the NUPW added.
The demonstrators are contending that the proposed overall restructuring of the BVTB should not be used as an excuse for delaying the increase of their pay since the board has proceeded with the implementation of the upgraded duties and responsibilities to execute the new curriculum.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Colin Jordan declined to comment on the development when reached by Barbados TODAY, saying he had “no intention of debating live matters of industrial relations in the media.
“This is something that I would have practised when I was in the private sector out of respect for the process and I will not be starting it now,” the newly-elected minister said.