Teachers agree to 2% pay rise’
Teachers have accepted a pay rise and leave for new parents in line with other public sector workers, it emerged last night.
Mike Charles, the general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said that negotiations with the Government had “paused” after an agreement was reached on three issues.
He explained that talks are to resume this month because a number of concerns remained outstanding.
Mr Charles said: “To say that we’ve reached an agreement is sort of a half-truth.
“After two years of negotiating, we reached agreement on three items and we had a myriad of items.”
He said teachers were offered a pay rise at 2 per cent, which was accepted after other public service unions agreed to the same amount.
Mr Charles added: “Unfortunately, teachers have already lost that 2 per cent because in January premiums on the Government Employee Health Insurance went up.”
He said: “We were able to agree on two other items and that’s maternity and paternity leave, which the government workers union the [Bermuda Public Services Union] agreed on before, so really it just brought us up to the standard of other government workers.”
Mr Charles explained that there was “no fanfare” when the terms were reached towards the end of last month.
He added: “Imagine accomplishing that after about two years of negotiating, so there wasn’t much to celebrate.
“We closed off on that so that at least our teachers can receive the 2 per cent — that’s the main reason why we paused negotiations.
“We didn’t say we reached an agreement because there are a number of other important items which we have to get back to the table to discuss.”
Mr Charles explained that the priority was to secure better salaries for paraeducators.
He added: “They work with students who, in a lot of cases, other people can’t work with.
“They do a lot of work that other teachers can’t do or won’t do, so they need to be remunerated properly.”
Mr Charles said a meeting with the Public Service Negotiating Team had been scheduled for today but was postponed to April 30.
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said in an interview with ZBM News that aired last night: “Negotiations with the BUT have concluded; they were concluded late in March.”
He said the parties were waiting for terms to be signed off on paper.
Mr Rabain explained: “Obviously that brought about the closure of the negotiations that have been going on since June of last year and I’m happy to report that the Bermuda Union of Teachers have agreed to a 2 per cent uplift, which was what we had put on the board last year in June, when we first started.
“And I do believe the other part of the negotiations is that the maternity leave will now be on par with their BPSU counterparts.”