After an apparent easing of tensions between the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) and the Ministry of Education over the last year, the two sides are at odds over the issue of teacher transfers.
This afternoon, the BSTU voiced concerns surrounding the transfers by “senior officers in the ministry with the continuing lack of adherence to protocol”. The union also suggested that its members were being targeted for transfer in violation of their rights.
BSTU president Mary Redman warned the alleged acts by some ministry officials threaten to sabotage efforts by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw to restore constructive relations with the unions.
“In these cases, the deviation from protocol and established best practice revolves around a lack of prior notification of the usual four weeks’ notice and the reason given for the transfer,” she claimed.
“The mandated official correspondence to the teacher which should come from either Personnel Administration Division (PAD) for appointed persons or from the Chief Education Officer, with delegated authority from PAD, as this relates to the temporary person was adhered to in one instance only, none of the others received official written correspondence.”
The BSTU also charged that some of the transfers appear to be punitive in nature, noting that in one case, a member who brought a case of sexual harassment against a member of the school’s administration has been transferred.
She said: “What we seriously question is why the Deputy Principal was able to inform our member and the Head of Department when the Principal himself at that time had no knowledge of the intended transfer.
“Our member is being reportedly required to teach a subject also in which they possess not even a CSEC qualification, in the new school.
“The new person being transferred to our member’s school reportedly cannot teach one of the required subject areas and has not taught the main subject area for many years, yet with one week’s notice she will now be required to teach that subject to CAPE level.
“In another instance, two of our members at a primary school who brought the matter of the horrific cockroach infestation at the school to the union’s notice have been transferred, only one received a letter. That one is the BSTU shop steward in the primary school.
“From the day of the union’s visit to the school to view the infestation problem, the Principal, in the company of her Senior Teacher, demanded a list of names of BSTU members at the school from the President. This was not supplied but two BSTU members, including the Shop Steward, have been transferred.”
The BSTU head went on to outline two more cases where it was felt that her members were being unfairly targeted noting that the union is fighting each matter.
Redman said: “The Union has intervened in each instance either by correspondence or meetings or both. Today we met in relation to the two secondary school transfers.
“The continued lack of adherence to protocol and procedure by some at the ministry who should know better both from their professional and other experience too often borders now on continued attempts to frustrate and penalize members of the BSTU, even going so far as disregarding legislation and regulations.” [email protected]