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Nov 21, 2016

Injunction Also Stops Ministry Plan to Make Up Lost Time from Strike

Luke Palacio

B.N.T.U. returns to court on December sixteenth, when it is expected that the substantive matter, a claim that the decision to deduct teachers’ salaries is unconstitutional, will be argued before the Chief Justice.  The teachers union is challenging the validity of that decision made by the Ministry of Education.  It is also prepared to argue that the days prescribed by government for teachers to make up the time lost as a result of the strike is also unconstitutional.  The basis for that argument is the Education Rule which states that teachers should be on vacation for Christmas, Easter and July periods.

 

Reporter

“Sir, how does this affect the situation of the six days which were proposed over the Christmas and the Easter?”

 

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“Well I guess the ruling says that, we have not gotten the specific details but my understanding is that they are not to interfere with the complainants at this time.  So we definitely need to get some more advice specifically on that, but let me say it again to this nation, the education rules are clear.  The education rule says that the teachers of this country should be on vacation for Christmas period, Easter period and in the month of July.  So again, for the minister and his Chief Education Officer to try and force our teachers to go to school on those days when they should be on holiday we are saying they should be on holiday and unless they can come with some justification as it relates to that matter, our teachers are looking at that very seriously because we are entitled to our holidays and we’ll make every effort to ensure that we take those days because it is by law.  It is not a decision arbitrarily made by any minister or any Chief Education Officer.”

 

Carol Babb

Reporter

“Sir, but how else will time be made up?  I don’t know if the BNTU ever looked at how the time will be recovered given that the teachers had already said that they were willing to make up the time.”

 

Luke Palacio

“They were not given an opportunity to explain that to their managements.  Their managements were hoodwinked, their managements were in fact, went hand in hand with the government.  We can say that deliberately because when you look at the rule that they have quoted, Rule 131 of Sub Rule 4 I think it is, it says that the Chief Education Officer may, on the recommendation of managements, decide whether you will keep or you will extend the school year.  They called those people into a meeting, gave them instructions, said to them this is how you are going to make up this time.”

 

Reporter

“After the strike wasn’t some agreement reached with the teachers to make up the time that they lost during the protest?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“Yes, we had proposed them that we can make up like six days in next year and they will be paid for those days.  But the decision has been made, the injunction was granted.  We’ll move from here.”

 

Reporter

“Any date set yet for the actual trial to begin?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“Yes, it set for December sixteenth.  [That’s] the next trial date.”

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2 Responses for “Injunction Also Stops Ministry Plan to Make Up Lost Time from Strike”

  1. Jasmin Rose says:

    This ruling has essentially taken the power / authority from government to regulate! How is it that if I am paying 70 – 100 percent of salaries to teachers I have no say in how and when you operate / work?

    What this now spells out is that every time unions have any issue with government….forget negotiation, forget industrial actions procedures…go right to STRIKE! And no need to worry precedence has been set…you will get paid no matter what!

  2. carlos says:

    Ministry of education needs to be properly advised. They do things because they are in government, but the country has laws and we must obey them. They want to go against the same rues they formulated. In a democracy this no works.

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