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Gov’t failed to meet demands so senior school teachers join sickout

Gov’t failed to meet demands so senior school teachers join sickout

The government has reportedly failed to meet the demands of the BVI Teachers’ Union (BVITU) so teachers at Elmore Stoutt High School’s (ESHS) senior campus are continuing a sickout their colleagues at the junior campus began yesterday, October 27.
This is what the BVITU communicated to our news centre this afternoon, while further stating that ESHS’s junior campus teachers returned to classes today.

The BVITU’s Public Relations (PR) Unit said the union is not planning any more protests at the junior campus for the foreseeable future and teachers are just waiting to see what happens next.

The PR team added that neither the Chief Education Officer Connie George nor the Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley have reached out to the Teacher’s Union regarding the issues surrounding the sickout that started yesterday.

“We have put forward several demands to the government which have not been met. Some of them had timelines on it but to date, nothing has been fulfilled,” the PR unit stated.

The PR team further said the $300 stipend promised by Minister Wheatley during the celebration of Teacher’s Week has not been paid out to teachers as yet. They also mentioned the BVITU has requested a written agreement from the Virgin Islands government to facilitate payment of no fewer than two past due increments.

“Our salaries are already low but the increments would at least make up for it but that has not been met by the government,” they added.

The PR team also said the termly cleaning of mould on both campuses have not been done. She noted the junior campus is also affected by mould and some of the teachers are suffering from this.

Classes at the senior campus moved online yesterday as the government tries to rectify the mould problem at that location. The BVITU’s PR team said they were told the issue should be remedied by the end of next week. However, our news centre was told educators are not very confident of the timeframe for completion given the government’s lethargic approach to the other demands of the teachers.

The PR unit further said talks have been ongoing for the eventual relocation of the senior campus to the junior campus in Road Town but no updates have been forthcoming from the government.

“Ground was to be broken by January of next year but to date, nothing has been said or done.”

Efforts to reach the Chief Education Officer Connie George for a comment on the issue continues to be unsuccessful. At the time this article was written, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley was in parliament so BVI News was unable to get a comment.

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