ANTIGUA: Ministry of Education responds to teachers

Teachers during recent gathering/Newsco photo


The Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries is aware of a press release dated April 14, 2023 under the pen of Ms. Sharon Kelsick, General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers.

In response to this press release suggesting continued failure of the Ministry of Education to fulfil promises made to the ABUT as they relate to teachers issues, we would like to highlight the following:

STATUS: Ex-gratia Payments to teachers. All 34 teachers have been paid or have indicated they will collect their cheques on Monday 17th April 2023

Outstanding upgrades. Of the 336 teachers who were eligible for upgrades, all have received their upgrade instrument except for 25 teachers who remain un-upgraded due to clerical issues being addressed by the Ministry.

We have been informed that there are approximately 30 teachers who have not received the increase in salary, and the Ministry has asked for the names of the 30 persons in order for the matter to be investigated

STATUS: Lighting at schools. The improved lighting at all 14 schools identified as priority schools by the ABUT has been completed.

Retroactive Payments to teachers. While this was not identified as an issue by the ABUT as a part of the current industrial action, the Ministry of Education has advised the ABUT that the 159 cheques for teachers are available for collection at the Ministry.

Fences at SNA and Pares Secondary.
In a meeting with the ABUT, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Works, a solution was reached for the erection of a fence at the SRNA.

It was agreed that this solution will be completed within one month.

As it relates to the Pares Secondary School, the Ministry indicated that prior to fencing the school, the boundaries of the property must first be surveyed, and that the Surveys Division will be tasked with executing this survey immediately.

Camera installation.
Of the priority schools listed, cameras have been installed at the Ottos Comprehensive School, the SNRA, the Antigua Grammar School, the Clare Hall Secondary School, the All Saints Secondary School, and the Antigua Girl’s High School. The Ministry indicated that the installation of the camera system is extremely labor intensive, and the work cannot take place during school hours.

Notwithstanding this, the installation of the cameras in the remaining schools continues.
Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement was discussed extensively at the Cabinet level, and a date for negotiations will be forwarded to the ABUT by Tuesday April 18th 2023.

The Ministry of Education wishes to advise the public that we remain in full support of our teachers, and will continue to do everything to ensure that all issues affecting our stakeholders in education are adequately addressed. We believe that the matters that remain incomplete are at an advanced state of completion.

To this end, we are of the view that recognizing all that has been done to date, the ABUT will see it fit, in the spirit of goodwill, and in the best interest of the children of this country, to advise the membership to return to the classrooms on Monday April 17th as we seek to finalize the outstanding matters.
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  1. Sorry Minister. But the teachers are not negotiating in good faith. They have a knife to your throat, and they are going to use it. This is part of the political climate and the strategy to try and make governing hard and impossible for you.

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