Thursday 4 June, 2020

‘Sick’ teachers causing school closures

(File Photo)
Mary Redman, President of Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU)

(File Photo) Mary Redman, President of Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU)

For the second consecutive day teachers at secondary schools across the island have absented themselves from classes in what appears to be possible industrial action by the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU).

The BSTU just two days ago aired a number of issues affecting their members in what was described as ‘disrespect’ being meted out to teachers by Boards of Management, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Civil Service.

Speaking to Loop News, President of the BSTU, Mary Redman said many teachers called out to work sick today as well as on Thursday but the cause of the illness she would not be able to confirm.

“The BSTU is doing its due diligence to ascertain the exact reasons for this and we can state definitely that it is not industrial action because when as a union we take industrial action we follow a set procedure.

"We cannot definitely state however if teachers are sick or otherwise distressed. We don’t know if teachers are sick of not having their issues addressed, we don’t know if they are sick of having their fundamental rights to be heard violated, we don’t know if they are sick of unfair dismissals. We don’t know if they are sick of Board of Management and Ministry officials violating the laws of Barbados and not following the legislation grievance procedures, we don’t know if they are sick of working in environments that are making them sick. We don’t know if they are sick of exposure to violence in their work environment with no indication of serious action being taken to address this.”

The widespread ‘sickness’ resulted in the closure of two schools up to the time of publication today and those are The Combermere School and The Lodge School. One fourth form student at Combermere School told Loop News there were only around 10 teachers on staff today and a decision was made to allow students to return home just before lunch-time.

Other schools across the island which have also been hit by the teacher callouts include St. George Secondary, Grantley Adams Memorial School, Queen’s College, The Springer Memorial School and Redman also said Ellerslie Secondary School and primary schools may also have been affected.

Redman also said the BSTU has scheduled a mass meeting for members for next Tuesday with a meeting time and place yet to be confirmed.

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