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Oct 4, 2016

P.S.U.’s Belize Branch Meets; Will They Support Teachers?

Eldred Neal

Will the Public Service Union join the Teachers’ Union in solidarity and possibly on the streets? That is the subject of consultations which began this afternoon at the P.S.U.’s headquarters, which it shares with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. The meeting was contentious and even quarrelsome, as Union president Eldred Neal faced off with about fifty public officers, some of them members of the union, but others invited as guests. Neal provided an update on negotiations with the Government over the three percent salary adjustment and polled members on how best to support their sister union. As he told us in an interview just before news time, the Belize Branch is certainly in favour, but it is up to their sister union branches to agree, and industrial action is not on the table yet.

 

Eldred Neal, President, Public Service Union

“The one motion that was tabled and passed was that the Union ought to render a voice, whether it’s a communiqué in terms of a press release or it’s a communiqué amongst membership, that we are in solidarity with the number of national issues [that the] B.N.T.U. is presently standing up on. We know of all these issues, we have been following it closely – the entire country has been – and in fact, we are in full support of those issues. Where we deferred some, is in terms of the action, in terms of the timeline. Where B.N.T.U. is at this point is that their membership has spoken and they have gone through the process; we are now doing so. But yes, Belize Branch particularly are in support of at least six of the eight points that B.N.T.U. has spoken to. And in fact we do want to see better governance; we do want to see the Integrity Commission; we do want to see the thirteenth Senator; we do want to see the passing of the U.N. Convention on Anti-Corruption.  Again, I reiterate, P.S.U. is not at that stage yet; we are not prepared to stand in protest with B.N.T.U.  We’re going through the process; we will get to whatever position on the eventual.”

 

Notably, Neal said that the removal of Senator Godwin Hulse was not on today’s agenda. Neal is to visit Corozal Town on Wednesday morning at the Andres Campos Civic Center beginning at ten, followed by visits to Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Punta Gorda and Dangriga in that order through Friday, after which a national position will be adopted.

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