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Teachers vote to accept 10% pay cut

Teachers voted yesterday to take a 10 per cent salary cut for a year as part of the fightback from the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bermuda Union of Teachers and associated staff unanimously backed the move at a special general membership meeting at the Fairmont Southampton, which included presentations by the ministries of education and finance.

One teacher at the meeting, who asked not to be named, said it was agreed the salary cut would start in September.

But another teacher said: “Some paraeducators feel that they should not get a pay cut, as they had not had a pay increase in 20 years.”

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance did not respond to questions on the amount of money that needed to be saved in education, or if any other cost-cutting measures were being considered.

Nishanthi Bailey, the president of the BUT, declined to comment on the negotiations on the grounds of confidentiality.

David Burt, the Premier, said on Monday that belt-tightening measures faced by all government employees would not affect take-home pay.

He added: “I do not wish to classify this as a pay cut, it is savings.”

Mr Burt said: “There is no public officer who will be taking home less funds with the proposal that is going forward from the Government to the union membership for ratification.”

News of the BUT agreement came after Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, was forced on Monday to retract a claim that the BUT could not go ahead with the meeting because it clashed with training days.

Ms Richards wrote: “Teachers do not have permission to attend the meeting as professional development had been scheduled at the same time as the meeting”.

But it was later revealed that the meeting had been given the green light by Derrick Binns, the Head of the Civil Service, after discussions with the Bermuda Trade Union Congress.

The planned training days for teachers who attended the BUT meeting will be rescheduled.

The House of Assembly and the Senate have agreed to a one year 12.5 per cent salary reduction, plus a suspension of payments to the public service superannuation fund over the same period.

The Bermuda Union of Teachers met with members to discuss government cost savings (Image supplied)

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Published June 25, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated June 25, 2020 at 2:19 pm)

Teachers vote to accept 10% pay cut

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