BUT claims teachers not yet paid for September

Public school teachers have yet to be paid salaries for September, according to union chiefs.

Anthony Wolffe, the general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, also claimed that salary issues were “perpetual and occur each September” – the start of the academic year.

In a September 30 letter to Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, which was sent to The Royal Gazette this afternoon, Mr Wolffe listed a number of grievances over pay, and accused the Department of Education of negligence.

Mr Wolffe wrote: “It has come to our attention that members of this union have not received compensation for September. The union filed a grievance against the Department of Education for this issue last school year and the fact the department has not rectified this concern is negligence.

“It is unacceptable that these members have not received their salary for the month nor a notification for not processing their salary by the deadline.

“These salary issues are perpetual and occur each September, and in some cases monthly, as there appears to be an issue with payment.”

Mr Wolffe added that complaints had been received from new and substitute teachers, along with those in acting posts.

He said: “These ongoing issues in compensation convey a more significant problem of the human resources infrastructure.”

He added that teachers were still waiting to receive copies of their contracts for the year – a breach of the collective bargaining agreement and the Employment Act, which was “unacceptable“.

He also pointed out that the department had had opportunities earlier in the month to notify the union of any delays in payment.

Mr Wolffe concluded: “Commissioner, advise the rationale for non-payment and measures to ensure this does not occur again.

“Further, we request the list of all persons affected by compensation issues, including members in acting posts, and a list of all members awaiting a contract. We demand all members receive payment by the end of next week.”

In an e-mail to members tonight, the public relations committee of the BUT said that no response to last week’s letter had been received.

The e-mail added: “We are aware that immediately following the letter, the commissioner requested principals to confirm with staff if they have any issues with compensation.”

The e-mail also asked members to complete a survey asking them to list any complaints about salaries or contracts.

Yesterday, Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, marked World Teachers’ Day by praising the island’s educators.

Mr Rabain said: “I want to celebrate all of our teachers who are instrumental in transforming education and the learning experiences of our young people.

“Teachers are the engines at the heart of education in Bermuda, without whom it is impossible to provide inclusive and equitable quality education to every learner across the island.”

Mr Rabain added that the Government had a “commitment to invest in teachers, involve teachers, trust teachers, respect teachers”.

The Government has been asked for a comment.

Source: royalgazette

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