PLP Press Conference Remarks: Rolfe Commissiong


PLP Spokesperson for Labour & Workforce Development

Yesterday, in my capacity as PLP Spokesperson for Labour & Workforce Development, I released a statement regarding last week’s protest by the Bermuda Union of Teachers. Today, I am here to enlarge upon that statement as part of the PLP’s focus on education and how healthy Labour Relations can be an educational asset for our students and, of course, our educators.

Our teachers have been exemplary in their dedication to our students during a time of willful neglect on the part of the OBA government. For the last five years, our teachers have worked without raises as the cost of living in Bermuda increases and they have worked without a new collective bargaining agreement, providing them without security. During that time, they have taught and fought for our children. And in return, when protecting our children from toxic mould and serious associated health issues they have been called “mischievous” by the Leader of the country, Premier Dunkley, who is however content to prioritise expenditure on improving his Cabinet building.

This is the rhetoric our teachers receive for going above and beyond the call of duty, in a situation where they are expected to do their work with both hands behind their backs.

They are justified in their protests over the length of time it has taken to secure a new collective bargaining agreement. The BUT has seen their negotiations stalled since January. We are nearly in June and time continues to tick by.

This is now their 5th year in Government and by not caring for our teachers, the One Bermuda Alliance government is not caring for our students. How can we expect any improvement in Education when there is no improvement in the treatment or our teachers?

The next Progressive Labour Party will be sure to work as hard as our teachers do to establish a healthier relationship with them and their union to provide them security and protection along with all the other major unions.

There is no greater asset in public education than our teachers, and they deserve the same support they offer our children day in and day out. This is not an option, it is a necessity.