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Sep 12, 2016

Teachers’ Union Plans Further Meetings as P.M. Wonders About Industrial Action

Dean Barrow

The Council of Management of the Belize National Teachers’ Union met this past Saturday to receive reports from the ten branches concerning the emergency membership meetings held on Thursday. The Union, along with the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and the Public Service Union, is considering a proposal from the Government to delay the salary adjustments granted three years ago and now in their third and final year as well as to formulate a response to various national issues. The Union has officially declined comment to the press at this time; however, sources say that there will be another membership meeting at each branch later this week to communicate the Council’s decision, at which time the press can seek comment. On Friday, we shared B.N.T.U.’s National President Luke Palacio’s comments on possible industrial action by the union, which he denied. However, that did not prevent Prime Minister Dean Barrow from hitting back on Friday.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I am concerned because, again, there was never to be a meeting with the B.N.T.U.   This matter was discussed with the Joint Unions Negotiating Team, with the presidents of all three unions involved who represent government’s salaried workers; that is the A.P.S.S.M., the P.S.U. and the B.N.T.U.  Government did not at the meeting say to them we are not going to pay you.  We made a request that they consider, in view of the hurricane, a deferral of the salary adjustment, the amount of which and the principal of which had already been agreed.  All we were saying is, would you defer it until next April.  They undertook to consult with their membership and then to come back to me with an answer.  I can’t, for the life of me, fathom how it is that the B.N.T.U. could be talking about industrial action.  There is no dispute, there is a proposal which they are to consider and get back to me on, and it is not just the B.N.T.U., [it’s] the A.P.S.S.M. and the P.S.U.  I would hope again that in the interest of courtesy and mutual respect and a proper partnership that the course that was agreed upon be followed and that the unions come back to me when they have a position and let me know what that position is.”

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