Methodist Agogic Center holds out on teacher’s employment

POSTED: 06/22/12 2:52 PM

St. Maarten — President of the Windward Island Teachers Union Claire Elshot says the teacher who was fired from the Methodist Agogic Center is still waiting to receive her salary that is due to her after she returned from maternity leave in January.
“To date nothing has been regulated for her,” Elshot said.
The union leader said that the teacher was not informed by the Methodist School Board that she had to submit the documents as soon as she had received it from the doctor. However, when she returned from overseas she inquired and although all the relevant documents were provided the Methodist School Board – the doctor certificate outlining what was her problem, the birth and marriage certificates and her extended sick leave – nothing was done for the teacher.
“According to the law even though the teacher did not provide the documents at the time when she was due to submit them it does not give the school board the prerogative to fire the teacher,” Elshot said.
The union leader explained that the letter that was sent from the school board on January 1, 2012, which was during the teacher’ maternity leave should have been retracted since the teacher should not be terminated during her maternity leave. She said that on her return from overseas she made contact with the teacher and was told that when she made contact with a member of the school board she was told “that they do not have anything for her as yet.
“I do not know whose decision the school board is waiting on,” Elshot noted.
She said that in a meeting with the school board they had discussed the continuation of the working relationship with the teacher. She also mentioned that it was expected that the teacher would have been in the class room since April after the school board had received the letter. The person who was hired to fill the teacher’s place during her absence should have been sent to another class and the teacher reinstated to her position.
“We are now in June and if nothing is forthcoming, the union plans to make one more attempt and that will be made through the Labor Department to the school board with an ultimatum and if the teacher is not reinstated, wey will be left with no other choice than to start legal proceedings against the school board,” Elshot said.
She maintains that according to the Geneva Convention that regulates teachers “you cannot touch a worker who is on maternity leave.” Although the school board of the Methodist Agogic Center claims that they have been “very lenient and compassionate with this teacher” the union leader does not see how the matter could take so long to be resolved.
“This is a clear cut case and the teacher is not “totally wrong” and the teacher has the rights to her job at the school.”

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