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Broomes’ interests ‘must be protected’

Geralyn Edward

Broomes’ interests ‘must be protected’

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Principal Jeff Broomes will be “professional” in the way he interacts with 30 teachers who have ended 20 days of industrial action and return to Alexandra School tomorrow.
His representative – the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) – is convinced that the principal “recognizes that there is need for healing by every person in that school”.
Walter Maloney, president of the NUPW, told the DAILY NATION yesterday the priority of his union was to ensure that Broomes’ rights and interests were protected.
Moreover, he rejected suggestions that the statement by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart yesterday following a deal brokered with the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) to end the three-week impasse, seemed to favour the teachers and left room for a possible “separation” of Broomes from the school.
“I am not one of those people who reads intent into something that was fairly clear,”?Maloney said.
“Our position has always been that we are here to represent the interest of Brother Broomes and that his rights and privileges are not trampled on and that he is given the right to a hearing.
“That is what we have always said and what we will continue to do whether or not the comments of the Prime Minister suggest that he is more in favour of one side. I certainly did not view his comments in that way but other people’s interpretations don’t have to be mine.”
Maloney said he was pleased that the deadlock had been broken so the near 1 000 children at the school could resume their classes.
“The Prime Minister met with the BSTU and rightly said that the BSTU was the union that was on strike, so he met with them. The NUPW was not on strike. The NUPW was only involved and joined this fight because Brother Broomes – being a member of our organization – we had to make sure that we offered him the best representation.
“That representation had to do with this whole notion of a separation. Teachers going back to school would have been a fight between the employer and the BSTU.”
According to Maloney, the fact that the Prime Minister was able to get the teachers back to school was one matter but “anything else about any separations or movement, that becomes a matter between the NUPW and the employer and the [Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools]”.
Maloney said no special conditions had been imposed on Broomes when the teachers returned though he expected that the situation would require some patience by all the parties at the school.
“It is not going to be easy. . . . Obviously, there is a lot of pain out there that has to be dealt with and there will need to be some counselling with the persons involved – even parents,” Maloney added.