On the eve of elections for a new executive of the Barbados Union of Teachers, president Sean Spencer is predicting a smooth start to the Trinity school term next week, despite what he has described as myriad challenges facing teachers.
Spencer said that while remedial work on some schools would have to be inspected before the all-clear was given, the majority of schools are expected to reopen as scheduled.
Speaking to the media at the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations press conference today, he said: “As it stands right now, we would anticipate a smooth start to the third term, however, there are cases in certain schools where work which would have been commenced would have to be evaluated before I can speak definitively to those individual schools.”
He said teachers across the island’s schools had several concerns.
Some of these related to the non-payment of allowances and increments, the issue of contracts, health and safety challenges and an inadequate number of teachers and general workers at some schools, he said.
But as Spencer faces the polls on Friday in the BUT’s elections he declared that some of those issues were being addressed.
“Many of the issues have been outstanding, some of them have been in a cycle where they have not been entirely resolved, but these are issues which we keep driving home.
“I am able to say that we are now getting attention from the Minister herself, and in some cases they are now being pressed home. What would have obtained before would have been a matter where we would have sent correspondence, but that correspondence would not have been responded to, but at least we are getting responses now and we’re seeing some level of action in that regard,” he said.
Despite acknowledging the ministry’s willingness to address the union’s concerns, the BUT president said teachers were prepared to stand up for their rights if necessary.
He call for an end to verbal and physical attacks on teachers by parents and guardians and for more respect to be shown to the profession. [email protected]