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Oct 19, 2016

P.U.P. Leader Says Teachers Must Be Paid

This afternoon the People’s United Party was quick to respond to the plight of the teachers. In a press conference today, Leader of the Opposition John Briceño demanded that the Government pay the teachers for the days of industrial action. Briceño says that G.O.B. has not only a legal obligation, but also a moral one to do right by the teachers.


John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“We are very happy and we want to congratulate them and tell them how proud we are for standing up for all of us.Because these issues that they stood up forwere not only issues that affected them, but it affected the other unions, and well it affected each and every one of us. But we are very concerned, I mean dismayed, that after having such long, drawn out negotiations with the Government that the Government now has decided that they are not going to pay the teachers for the period that they were on strike. I think it was in the 2005 strike they went to court and the Chief Justice was very clear, as I’ve been told, that if they were to take industrial action that then the Government is required to pay their salaries and that is why the teachers did not bring up that issue when they were negotiating with the Prime Minister and his officials. We are very concerned that they would know that after this long drawn out negotiations that the teachers have decided in good will and good faith to go back to the classrooms, because many of the issues that were settled are promises to be fulfilled in the future, that the Prime Minister and Minister of Education have decided that they are not going to pay the teachers. I think what is even more offensive is that the Ministry of Education instead of sending this memo directly to the unions and to the different managements, they decided to make it public even before the teachers could find out. We believe that is an act of bad faith. We are urging the Government to do the right thing; to pay the teachers; to pay them what they rightly deserve. We expect that on the thirty-first of October all teachers are going to get a hundred percent of their salaries. And if they don’t, we in the P.U.P., are going to be urging everyone, the private sector and the other unions to go to the streets to get fully compensated as mandated by the law.”



“Members of the applicant union undoubtedly have the right to strike. That does not however, confer as well the right to be paid their salaries for any period they absent themselves from the classroom in exercise of their right to strike. Isn’t that very clear then that the Chief Justice establish that you are free to strike but you can’t expect to be paid?”


John Briceño

John Briceño

“But under the ILO, the International Labour Organization, the convention that we signed, that gives them the right for industrial action and the right that the Government also needs to be able to pay them. That is the understanding that the unions, the teachers unions had given to me when we spoke with them. That is why when we were in Government, they went to court and we then decided and I checked this with the former Minister, the Hon. Francis Fonseca, who then decided that it is important that we paid; that we paid the teachers. The Government not only has a legal right under the ILO, but also a moral obligation to pay the teachers their full salary.”



“Sir, the judgment says, because there were two strikes in 2005 from January to February and then the one in April which I think was only the twenty-fifth to the twenty-ninth of April. But the eleventh May 2005 the judgment with Chief Justice said that from eleventh May 2005, several teachers had monies deducted from their April salaries for the days which they participated in the B.N.T.U. strike. So, then the P.U.P., which you are a part of – which you are the leader of – also made a deduction for that strike in 2005?”


John Briceño

“But then we did give them the monies afterwards. I checked today with the former Minister of Education that after that they did decided to give them their salaries.  I am told that some teachers got their monies and some didn’t get and I confirmed that today with the B.N.T.U. today. But we did make the monies available to pay the teachers.”

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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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2 Responses for “P.U.P. Leader Says Teachers Must Be Paid”

  1. David says:

    The teachers strike for anti corruption, yet the teachers want to be paid for not teaching the children for 11 days. are they not asking you to agree to corruption?

  2. madperson says:

    I guess if it is something that they will really deduct they should investigate first. I know some teachers that apparently weren’t supporting the strike. They were at schools on and off so what it means that they would go when they wanted.

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