BUT accepts 2.5% pay rise
The Bermuda Union of Teachers has voted to accept a 2.5 per cent pay rise.
BUT president Shannon James said union members met this week and voted unanimously to accept the offer from Government.
Mr James said: “For five years, our members have not had a pay rise, or they have been asked to take furlough days, but prices have continued to rise.
“As a result, our members have endured a drop in their standard of living in real terms.”
He added: “The previous contract ended in 2012. Therefore, teachers have had a pay freeze since then, and to add to that, they gave up a furlough day in 2014.”
Mr James said that a study by Bermuda College economist Craig Simmons found that teachers' buying power had fallen by 12 per cent in real terms.
He added: “That is an enormous drop and shows the level of sacrifice the teachers have had to make.
“In that context, the 2.5 per cent rise is quite small, but we do understand that there is still a need to be careful with Government spending.
“This was not a negotiated raise, but an offer from the Government as they realised that there had been no increase for any government worker for many years.”
The BUT will return to the bargaining table early in the new year to begin talks for a new collective bargaining agreement. The present agreement expires on August 31, 2018.
About 600 BUT representatives, trustees, and teachers marched on the grounds of the Cabinet Office in May over concerns about ongoing contract negotiations.
In June, BUT members voted to work to rule and to give “notice of action” at any time the union executive decided.
Issues surrounded scale posts, the speciality subjects that teachers at all education levels are responsible for in addition to their normal teaching duties; the workload of deputy principals at primary level given extra teaching responsibilities; and the wording of the preamble of the collective bargaining agreement.
The BUT voted to abandon this work to rule in September after negotiations over terms and conditions with the education department.