Premier of Bermuda David Burt (Internet image)
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HAMILTON - Bermuda’s teachers have voted to take a ten per cent salary cut for a year as government battles to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) and associated staff unanimously backed the move at a special general membership meeting.
One teacher at the meeting, who asked not to be named, told reporters that it was agreed that the salary cut would start in September when schools are due to reopen.
However, the president of BUT, Nishanthi Bailey declined to comment on the negotiations.
Premier David Burt said earlier this week that belt-tightening measures faced by all government employees would not affect take-home pay.
He added: “I do not wish to classify this as a pay cut, it is savings.
“There is no public officer who will be taking home less funds with the proposal that is going forward from the government to the union membership for ratification.”
News of the BUT agreement came after Commissioner of Education Kalmar Richards was forced on Monday to retract a claim that the BUT could not go ahead with the meeting because it clashed with training days.
“Teachers do not have permission to attend the meeting as professional development had been scheduled at the same time as the meeting,” Richards said.
But it was later revealed that the meeting had been given the green light by civil service head Derrick Binns after discussions with the Bermuda Trade Union Congress.
The planned training days for teachers who attended the BUT meeting will be rescheduled.
Parliamentarians in both the House of Assembly and the Senate have agreed to a one-year 12.5 per cent salary reduction, plus a suspension of payments to the public service superannuation fund over the same period. Cabinet ministers are taking a 15 per cent cut. (CMC)