Teachers Union To “Engage In Industrial Action”

August 20, 2014

The Department of Education said they received notice from the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] regarding their intention to “engage in industrial action” next month in relation to a disciplinary matter.

A spokesperson said, “The Department of Education has received a Notice from the General Secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers regarding their intention to engage in Industrial Action, effective Sep 2nd, 2014.

“The issue relates to a disciplinary matter. The Department is working with the Bermuda Union of Teachers to resolve this issue and will provide the public with timely updates when available.”

Update Aug 21, 7.45am: Attempts to get comment from the BUT yesterday via phone and email were unsuccessful.

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Comments (82)

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  1. Terry says:

    Nor much info supplied.
    Oh well.
    Rich well paid and pensioned persons.

    Same ole.

    • Kunta says:

      Cant blame Chris for this one.

      • PBanks says:

        At least it’s notice of a strike vs downing tools without notice. There’s a chance of the parties getting around the table now and ironing out the problems before students and parents are negatively affected.

      • sonso says:

        And you KEEP spelling you name wrong, mate!

      • Noncents says:

        Agreed- I would never blame Chris for a strike that is being done using proper protocol. Notice for a strike- laughable.

  2. Parent says:

    Always looking out for the kids, huh?

    • Tricks are for Kids says:

      Let’s not get hasty and be sarcastic…I teach and I’m not aware of this…we haven’t voted on anything….so this may just be a bit premature…

      • Kangoocar says:

        @tricks, I sure hope you are correct??? But as far as my memory takes me, every time a union votes for disciplinary action, they actually vote YES, to itIIIIII

        • Tricks are for Kids says:

          The majority as in any case ALWAYS carries the vote but that does not mean that ALL are in agreement. I have spoken to 7 people who are colleagues of mine and NONE are aware of this…

          • Creamy says:

            So the union is planning to do this without even asking the members, apparently.

            The biu did the same when increasing dues.

            They’re like dictatorships.

            • Kunta says:

              And like O.B.A./ubp who refused to have a Referendum when they promised, keeping B.T.A. information a secret(which is Govt. funding by TAX PAYERS), suspending contracts that were granted by Legislating a trumped up Law to benefit Friends and Family and its too depressing to go on with de other Bull S—.
              Oh you were saying about Dictatorship……..

              • Creamy says:

                So you can’t deny the unions are run as dictatorships. FLMFAO.

                You’re still spelling your name wrong. Ditch the last letter.

              • Starting point says:

                Nice to hear you agree that the Unions and OBA are the same then.

              • huh? says:


            • Triangle Drifter says:

              This type of behavior is the norm for the BIU. Nothing better is expected of them but somehow a higher standard of ethics is expected of the teachers union leaders.

              Oh well, same creature, different tentacles.

          • Parent says:

            So much for “consultation.”

            I don’t think kids should ever suffer as a result of teachers’ demands for themselves. It shows an unforgivable selfishness to deny a child an education. Even for a day. If you are willing to do that, you should not be a teacher.

            • Um just saying says:

              Tell that to govt who initiated the mandatory furlough days. Teachers miss even more days away from educating our children. So when we fight for ourselves, its a problem?

              • LOL (Original TM*) says:

                You mean tell that to the PLP for spending all the money and the OBA had no choice but to institute some cost cutting messures inorder to pay off the interest on the debt and the debt that the PLP racked up. Those furlough days? If that is the case they are venting to the wrong group.


                • Sick n Tired says:

                  Oh please . . . while at the same time hiring more and more consultants and taking luxurious trips on the tax payer dollar!!!!!!!!

          • filobedo21 says:

            @Tricks are you kids, so did you miss the vote?

            • Tricks Are For Kids says:

              No vote has been taken in regards to this…..

            • serengeti says:

              Sounds like Tricks and 7 of her colleagues had no knowledge of a vote. Was it a decision taken in secret?

      • micro says:

        That means you will not be partaking in the action then?

      • Jules says:

        Any threat of industrial action by educators simply ups the numbers of students leaving the public system and flocking to the private system.

  3. Kangoocar says:

    I guess the long hot summer continues???? Why is it, whenever a disciplinary action is taking, the unions always feel they should not be disciplined??? And we wonder why this island is in the mess we find ourselves in??? I say if they don’t show up for work, fire the lot of them and find teachers from anywhere that actually want to work!!!! President Reagan did just that, and we have had safer skies ever since??? Maybe if we do the same with these teachers, we might actually have students that graduate and are suitable for employment??????

    • Caramel says:

      Ok, I have to comment. I am an educator and Kangoocar “…fire the lot of them and find teachers from anywhere.” Really!!! are you kidding me!

      Education is not just the responsibility of the teacher but of the parent/guardian as well! Yes, we have a responsibility to our children’s education and their success and sometimes that means that wrongs have to be made right.

      Now the whole story is not yet known so we CANNOT jump to conclusions and make such a judgment call! It is wrong! What if your boss made the same comment about his/her employees and you were in the group? “…Fire the lot of them!…” What if you were the one doing a wonderful job! A blanket statement like yours need not be made because there are many educators who are concerned for our children! Yes, I said educators!

      Now in reference to your “…safer skies…” comment. Where you aware of 9/11?

      • Kangoocar says:

        What part of when I said ” If THEY DONT show up for work, then fire the lot of them ” did you miss??? I simply meant , THOSE that don’t SHOW UP for work, be fired!!!!! And secondly, 9/11 was caused by a bunch of nasty Muslims that hijacked a few planes, the air traffic controllers did not have anything to do with it!!!! You seriously are an educator???
        I do agree with you though on one of your points, that is the point you made about parents /guardians, I 110% agree with you, because that is a major problem in this and many other communities, many parents are NOT willing to do their part and put the time in and we all see how the vast majority of kids are leaving high school totally unprepared for their futures and society is and will in the foreseeable future be paying a big price for that!!!!

      • Interested says:

        I couldn’t have put it better, Caramel. Perhaps Kangoocar should take a drive and base his/her comments on factual observations before speaking about graduation rates and implying that we are not doing our jobs as educators. “Find teachers from anywhere….”, really? There goes a plug for foreign employment once again. No further commentary needed.

      • Hmmm says:

        Education is the responsibility of the Government, teachers, parent and the student.

        • LOL (Original TM*) says:

          thank you been saying this for years as I watch teacher, parent and the ministry point fingers at each other for passed fails but at the end of the day none of these groups actually communicate in an effective manner to improve the issues with education. As a parent however teachers who do not respond to emails/calls when I have questions about things happening in class or other issues can make the situation fustrating. I can not speak for the ministries frustrations or the teachers, but I do appreciate that the job is stressfull to say the least. That is why teachers need to be highly motivcated, positive people full of energy I guess.


      • Noncents says:

        @ Caramel. While I agree with the majority of your statement.. yo have completely missed the point regarding “safer skies”. Suggesting air traffic controllers played any part in 9/11 is ridiculous.

  4. lifetime says:

    When is school supposed to go back in?

    • Tricks are for Kids says:

      September 8th for students..

      • Terry says:

        Sept 8th?

        Must be open house.

        Gotta love it.

        Come as you are……Do what you want.

        Phone in the hallway………….

        • Hmmm says:


          • Yahoo says:

            Terry is an incoherent babbling fool. Just ignore him and move on. Trying to figure out his gibberish is akin to trying to decipher Alvin Williams’ nonsense!

  5. really! says:

    Did they get membership support/vote for strike? After all teachers are still on vacation.

    • Tricks are for Kids says:

      Not to my knowledge. ..well at least not my vote…or my colleagues

      • Unaware Teacher says:

        I agree everyone has so much to say about things they have no knowledge about. I am a teacher and this is the first time I am hearing about this action. By the way kangoocar industrial action does not always mean STRIKE!

      • NB says:

        Or mine. Wth. I have a job to do. Are we striking for a guilty party ? When are we meeting to vote? Surely not during my vacation.

  6. S.S.D.D. This time it’s the “educators” :-(

  7. Coffee says:

    Watch this space !

  8. Bermuda Boy says:

    I think it’s right that everyone should push bermuda down further and further. Who next to go on strike, the priesthood?????

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Nah, Tweedy is already making that profession look bad.

  9. whatwillittake says:

    Atleast they are giving notice and not blindsiding the public like the OTHER union.

    • Creamy says:

      No, they’re just blindsiding their members.

    • Shall it be considered by all parents a somewhat consolation?

      • PBanks says:

        Only if things get resolved before a strike happens. At least parents and the public are aware. So pressure should now be on the sides involved to sort it out.

  10. Y-Gurl says:

    This is a little odd, when was this vote taken? And if it’s true shame on you, where on
    Earth are we to place our children while you walk out as usual the kids will come second to your cause

  11. Irritated says:

    People are so quick to jump on teachers. IT BAFFLES ME!! This is the first we have heard of this.

    • NB says:

      I agree we are always getting the short end of stick. They act like they are perfect. Irritated is an understatement.

    • In fairness .... says:

      In fairness, this seems to be strictly the responsibility of the union (as opposed to the teachers). If other commenters are to be believed the teachers themselves know nothing about this. It’s the union that has delivered notice of industrial action next month (i.e., when the kids are supposed to be back in school). And they’ve apparently done so without consulting their members (question – is that even allowed under the Union’s bylaws?)

      They don’t say anything beyond claiming it’s due to a disciplinary matter but that’s par for the course for the unions on the island. Discipline an employee for any reason and you can expect a strike.

  12. Yeseye says:

    Same s different year

  13. We Are Not Amused! says:

    If Bernews went on strike we’d all be bored,I do so love de rock.

  14. watchfuleyes says:

    Unless the Union can show just cause for me to go on strike I will not go out. Firstly, I have not gone to any meeting about this case, I have not voted to strike and do not have any inkling what this is about. How dare the union call a strike without us voting, meeting and agreeing – they don’t call strikes the members do, and we have not. Can someone let me know if a meeting was held sometime this summer, and even so I have not received even an email about it. This does not sit well with me. Well Industrial Action most times means us marching. I think someone jumped the gun, or maybe taking it for granted but I want to know how this happened.

  15. Huh says:

    Amazed to read that a decision has been made on my behalf without my knowledge and has been sent to my employers without my permission.

  16. Island says:

    Wait, what?! I’m a teacher and this is news to me! Well I have stuff to do in my room so no time for this crap.

  17. Swimfan says:

    No information. No meeting. No email. No vote. No action as far as I can see!

  18. Dumb it Down says:

    Teachers on summer vacation…No class!!! Lol sorry I had to sneak that one in.

    • The threatened action .... says:

      The threatened action is scheduled for “next month” when the kids are back in school.

      All I want to know is whether or not the union bylaws let the union deliver a strike notice without the approval of the membership.

  19. We shall see... says:

    I look forward to hearing more details about the ‘disciplinary matter’. My child is at a school in which a teacher was disciplined for assaulting a child – apparently it wasn’t the first time… not only am I disgusted, but I (also an educator) would like to know why the BUT stands behind teachers of this sort. I was recently talking to someone in the private school who shared with me that a training teacher was not up to their standards, and low and behold, the teacher landed a middle school job in the public school system! Blows my mind, but I really need to educate myself as to what can be done about lousy teachers… but I will wait to hear about what is going on like everyone else.

  20. Sick n Tired says:

    To all my colleagues who have responded here, please keep in mind that we are a union of teachers who pay dues, and the intricate workings of our union is of our business and no one else. Please do not entertain persons like Terry and Kango whatever his name is as all they do is find things that are adverse to the OBA/UBP to complain about. We all know how our union functions, hence the inner workings of our union should and need to remain private until we as a body make it public.

    • Creamy says:

      They announced industrial action before the membership even knows what the issue is. That much is clear. So much for your “intricate workings”.

      It’s not “private” for obvious reasons. Our kids have to go to school.

  21. L. Milton Scott says:

    Take it easy everyone. I teacher has been fired. Mr. James is a fair and reasonable person and provides sound leadership. The BUT never takes industrial action short of a strike or a strike without having a meeting of its membership. And for a strike there has to be a secret ballot. It is obvious that loosing ones job for what the BUT’s Executive probably feels is unfair, is a serious issue, especially if you are the person who has lost your job. And when a teacher looses a job they also loose a career. Let’s wait for the details to unfold.

    • Voter (original) says:

      Lose, not loose. Quite different things! I.e. “I let the dog loose to run around” vs “when did you lose your keys?”

    • Cinderella says:

      Mr. Scott et al, please find a copy of “THE STUDENT’S COMPANION”, our book of correct use of the English language, and make that mandatory reading for yourself and all those teaching our students before the next semester.

      Those of us who practice good communication daily are part of your audience. This is to help you look as sharp in print as you do in person. ;-)

  22. Um just saying says:

    Please wait until the entire story comes out. You ppl should be fit from ‘jumping’ to conclusions. Industrial action does not always mean a strike! Our children may not even be adversely affected.

  23. Come On Man says:

    It doesn’t take long before the OBA or PLP get into the conversation.

  24. Kim Smith says:

    Any planned industrial action by teachers at the beginning of the school year is disgraceful and indicative that teaching is no longer a calling but just another job.

    • Interested says:

      Please note, that casting a net over all educators is a gross misjudgment. The vast majority of teachers are not teaching for the money but are guided by their passion. In any organization there are weak links which must be dealt with accordingly.

    • Caramel says:

      Blanket statement yet again!

      In all professions you will always have some who are in it for the “job.” I can only speak from an Educators point of view and say Ms. Smith, that many Educators are in the profession for Education; unfortunately, the majority get lumped into one negative category.

      I encourage you and plead with you to seek out Educators who are in the profession for our children and believe me there are many. In those classrooms, you will find children who want to succeed and are passionate about their future endeavors.

      Your comment; “…indicative that teaching is not longer a calling but a job,” is disappointing.

  25. Bozey says:

    Mmm with the info being so vague and many teachers not having any knowledge of this, I wonder if it is just one school….

  26. Unaware Teacher says:

    The majority of Bermuda Public School teachers are dedicated to their jobs and do their best everyday to be the best teacher they can be given their circumstances. I for one do not want to strike for a person who has been on disciplinary leave/action more than once for whatever reason. And yes there are a lot of POOR teachers out there too who just show up to get pay cheques. But do not put all teachers in the same category!!

  27. Tricks Are For Kids says:

    Many of us are not aware of any such action…… however if it scheduled for September 2nd that will occur PRIOR to the students starting on the 8th…..Again I stress that no vote has taken place and this announcement has taken many of us by surprise…

  28. Starting point says:

    Are the admin staff under the same union? If so then it might be possible that an admin staff was disciplined and that section of the union is issuing the notice?

    I do not see how the teachers are involved when consensus from teachers posting in here is that they are unaware of any union meeting etc.

    Perhaps today will provide more info.

  29. Enigma says:

    Please do not jump to conclusions. If you can recall, under Dr. Brown, it was decided that teachers will no longer go on wildcat strikes, hence the 30 day strike notice. Teachers are on vacation so it is impossible to call a meeting. I am sure upon their return there will be a meeting but in the meantime strike notice has been given. This issue might be resolved before September 2. Seems to me giving a strike notice effective September 2 is a smart move by the Union, especially if the disciplinary issue has been ongoing. I am sure the Department of Education are now paying attention.

    • Creamy says:

      So a strike is announced prior to consulting the membership. Gotcha.

  30. Edmund Wells says:

    This is very strange.

    Good on BUT for advance notice.

    Bad on BUT for, apparently, not consulting with its members.

    And, after all of the assurances from Ms. Furbert, Mr. Furbert, Mr. Williams and other BIU leaders about how, in that union, only members (and not the executive) can call for industrial action , how is the BUT different? Does its executive call for industrial action, and the members must comply?

    Or have both unions strayed so far from their initial, noble purpose of protecting workers’ rights, become intoxicated with their sense of political power and otherwise become as bad as the managements that sparked their creation years ago?


  31. LOL (Original TM*) says:

    Interesting that the Ministry says the schools will be ready on time so the facilities are ready and now the teachers are not (read another union) to work, why? For what reason?

    LOL really wondering about this one