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Oct 20, 2016

Minister Wilfred Elrington Says School Managements Will Decide

Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington

To pay or not to pay the protestant teachers; that’s the position that schools management are faced with following an eleven-day strike effected by the Belize National Teachers Union.  While the industrial action was initially to compel government into addressing the three percent salary adjustment, the tone of the resulting protest quickly became a call to action on issues of good governance.  So, was the strike a legitimate cause for abandoning the classrooms?  That’s what Minister Wilfred Elrington says should be decided by the schools management.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“If management are of the view that this is a strike that was not necessary, it was not needed, and they take the view that there has to be consequences, you can’t have employees dictating to management; that doesn’t happen in any part of the world.  Yes, employees will have legitimate concerns but they can’t hold the management to ransom.  In no part of the world can employees do that with impunity, there has to be accountability and consequences to one’s actions.  So without getting into the negatives or the positives of the case, I don’t know enough to know whether in fact this is a legitimate case where they should be docked of their salaries or not.  That’s a matter for their management and for them but I am saying that the system that we operate allows for that.  If your management believes that there was no need for you to take this action; I personally believe that the action that they took should have been taken by the opposition.  They seemed to have formed the view that the opposition was too weak and couldn’t do anything.  The opposition could not hold a strike and therefore they will show the nation that they can hold a strike and so they went out on the streets.  But from the very beginning I didn’t think that this was a matter that the teachers union should have been dealing with.  I agreed with them a hundred percent in relation to their three percent because that’s a direct matter that affects them immediately and I could see them being anxious about that and wanting to make the best arrangement with it.  But the other eight issues of good governance I thought those are things that the opposition should have dealt with.”

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