BSTU not picking fights, says Redman

THE President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Redman, wants Barbadians to understand that her union is not choosing to conveniently pick fights with the Ministry of Education at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Last week, some readers who commented on an article posted on a local media website, regarding BSTU calling on the Ministry to move quickly to settle outstanding issues, harshly criticised the union for standing firm.

When asked how she felt about the verbal attack teachers were getting from some members of the public, Redman explained that many people do not understand that “most of the industrial action that takes place in Barbados, is caused by the fact that persons who should know better are not doing their jobs”, especially in the public sector.

“You cannot get a response to correspondence; you cannot get a phone call returned; you can’t get a meeting set up. This is true across the system for all the unions dealing with the public sector.

“Permanent Secretaries complain that other Permanent Secretaries do not return phone calls and that has been our reality trying to get this grievance procedure done,” she said.

Redman indicated that if there is no inter-ministerial co-operation, the grievance procedure process is frustrated, which results in the unions having to take industrial actions.

However, according to Redman, people are choosing not to acknowledge that there is an issue with the way things are done in the system, but go ahead and blame the unions.

“Teachers must be blamed and it doesn’t matter when it happens,” she said.

“Teaching is a very dynamic activity. We are dealing with thousands of teachers across the system and tens of thousands of students, and hundreds of administrators. So, issues come up constantly.

“An issue may come up coming on to the end of one school term, that you have asked to be addressed in the intervening period, which may happen to be a holiday and you may then have to take action at a point of time that happens to be at the beginning of the term. People are saying that we are not looking to start the school year, we don’t want to work...,” Redman added. (AH)

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