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Sep 8, 2016

Union President says permission from Ministry is not needed

But the Ministry of Education is at odds with the B.N.T.U. over the convening of today’s meeting without following protocol. The Ministry issued a release prior to the meeting, which complains about the lack of sufficient notice following the 1997 protocol, which it says does not contribute to enhancing industrial relations between the B.N.T.U., the School Managements and the Ministry. According to the Ministry, the Union has (Quote) “shown a total disregard for children and their parents, specifically through the loss of instructional time, right at the start of the new school year, and the alternative arrangements parents have to make for their children on such short notice.” (Unquote) M.O.E. says it received an email about today’s meetings and other planned events on Wednesday instead of the established two-week notice. The press brought up all of this to Union president Luke Palacio this afternoon and he contended that no notice or anything beyond a courtesy notice to school management and the Ministry is needed to hold an emergency meeting.

 

Luke Palacio, National President, Belize National Teachers’ Union

Luke Palacio

“There is nothing in this arrangement or agreement that we had with the ministry of education way back in 1997, that the union will be allowed to have quarterly meetings, for those quarterly meetings, we are to inform the ministry and the managements two weeks ahead. That we have done because usually in September and October we have our first quarterly meeting for the term and then again in February and March, we have another set of meetings for which we are required to give the two weeks’ notice. If the chief education officer does not understand what the word emergency means, you cannot be talking about an emergency meeting and be having it two weeks later. There is nothing wrong, unions are there to promote workers rights, unions are there to deal with grievances and ill matters that the membership wants the unions to act on. We are not saying that we are not concerned about our students; as a matter of fact the fact that we were able to go back into the classroom on Monday despite all the negative things happening in this country, we could have taken more drastic action, but we are a responsible organization but people also need to start to understand that in this country and in this day, and age, and time, we need to start to look at things differently. Of course no management, no ministry will be happy with the actions we have taken, but that is our prerogative as a Union.”

 

 

Palacio said the decision for these meetings was taken on Saturday last, followed by notice to the branches, which decided to issue the courtesy notices, but these, he said, should not be construed as asking for permission to have the meeting.

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