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Jan 27, 2005

Teachers Union will vote on compromise

Story PictureBut after late afternoon proposal by the Government of Belize, it appears that the hardliners in the Belize National Teachers Union may be softening their stance. News 5 understands that GOB has put back on the negotiating table the same offer that it shot down on Tuesday when the unions suggested it. The terms include the implementation of salary increases demanded by the teachers over a two year schedule: half this year, half next year. While we are not certain of how teachers will respond, that point may be academic. Because the original contract negotiated in February of 2003 was signed between the government and three unions: the Public Service Union, the Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, all three bodies must agree to the terms or there will be no deal. Late this evening I spoke to BNTU Belize City Branch President Elena Smith, who spoke on behalf of the Union’s president.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU Belize City
?A proposal was given by Government saying that they will offer to junior officers four percent effective April first and they will offer to senior officers two and a half percent effective April first. The other half will be given next year. So that?s what we will tell them and they will decide from there if they accept or reject.?

Janelle Chanona
?Do they decide through a vote??

Elena Smith
?Yes, we?ll do that. We will have all branch presidents at that meeting and then we will decide by voting if we agree or reject.?

Janelle Chanona
?If that vote is a yes to accept Government?s proposals will the teachers go back to the classrooms on Monday??

Elena Smith
?Not necessarily because as I said before we need to agree with PSU (Public Service Union) and APSSM (Association of Public Service Senior Managers). So unless all three parties agree to that then that will go through. If that does not go through or if we do not accept that we have to continue with our plan of action.?

Janelle Chanona
?What is the next item on your plan of action??

Elena Smith
?Well, we have several things planned from now up until Monday because we have not decided when we will go back to school. So we are asking teachers to again listen to their radio stations and listen to what BNTU (Belize National Teachers Union) is saying and then based on what we say, they will do what we are saying.?

On Friday, the NTUCB is holding a rally with its Belize City members between eight thirty and two starting at the Memorial Park. The event will include a parade through the principal streets of Belize City. At six on Friday night, an ecumenical service will be held simultaneously at locations throughout the country, to be followed by a candle light vigil. In Belize City, participants will congregate at the Belize City Centre for an ecumenical service and then march to the Lopez Mateos Park. On Sunday, the NTUCB is also planning a fundraising “solidarity concert and telethon” at Memorial Park, which is scheduled to begin at ten in the morning.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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