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All’s cool at Alexandra

Mike King

All’s cool at Alexandra

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THE impasse at Alexandra School is almost over, and according to Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) president Mary Redman, everything is on stream for a smooth-sailing semester.Yesterday at a back-to-school church service at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre in Country Road, Redman said that the staff at Alexandra had been vilified “by those who should know better”, but the battle was being won and the teachers were being vindicated.Redman said the BSTU had been given some assurances from the Ministry of Education which would go a long way toward ending the acrimonious dispute with Alexandra principal Jeff Broomes, which has raged on for several months.“We have made splendid progress. The ministry has followed through on all of the assurances they have given us thus far,” she said.Those assurances include principals adhering to recruitment and selection processes in filling staff vacancies and the payment of travel claims to some teachers.“We have had circulars sent to schools reminding principals of their position in relation to their superiors at the Ministry of Education.“We have had the matter of the assault on the teachers at the school being actively addressed in a way that we find so far to be satisfactory.”The impasse came to national attention when the BSTU staged industrial action last December and January, with about two dozen teachers withdrawing their services from the St Peter secondary school. Redman said the ball was now in the court of the Alexandra School principal.Responsibility“It is now for those in administration to recognise their responsibility to follow through on the assurances the ministry has given and if that does not happen, for the ministry to act in a way in which [it has] the authority to act.”School starts today and Redman said that teachers at Alexandra were eagerly looking forward to conducting classes.“The teachers are eager to establish a work environment in the school of the type to which they had been accustomed prior to 2002.“The impasse is almost over. We have one more meeting scheduled for next week and at that meeting [we] expect to address the matters that are outstanding.“Given the tone of the prior meetings with the ministry and the attitude of the ministry officials, we expect that those matters will be addressed to our satisfaction and everything will be where we want it to be.”Redman added that if everyone does what they are supposed to do, in the way it should be done, she can envisage an Alexandra School with “much better industrial relations and personnel management practices”.

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