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Oct 26, 2016

Education Minister Faber Faces Off With B.N.T.U. on Friday

Minister of Education Patrick Faber is meeting with the leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union on Friday to discuss a way forward in the wake of an eleven-day strike effected by the organization.  Among the issues to be covered is a salary deduction from teachers who participated in the industrial action.  The union was unable to meet a deadline to submit relevant information regarding those individuals and the number of days they were absent from their respective classrooms.  Nonetheless, the ministry has proceeded to pay teachers their full salaries for the month of October, with a view to subtract those days from their subsequent paychecks.  The rationale behind paying the protestant teachers in full, according to Faber, was to avoid logistical errors in the calculation of their wages.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“What I was referring to in that discussion was the management submitting their information as it relates to the strike action and the attendance at the time for schools.  That deadline, if you remember, was last week Friday but we were trying to make the deadline for the October month.  We were not able to make that deadline and so, as everybody probably knows now, teachers will be paid in full at the end of this month of October but that next month we will work to make the deductions and this is because we don’t want to rush.  I think if we had tried to process things for this payday there would have been a lot of errors.  The timing was simply not right and it also gives us an opportunity to continue the dialogue with the B.N.T.U.  You may recall that I told you that I had written to the president of the B.N.T.U. inviting him to discussions that would be based on utilizing funds from the strike fund and it being supplemented by the government’s funds.  That meeting I had asked for last week Friday and Mister Palacio wrote back to say that he wouldn’t be available since it was short notice.  Over the weekend he wrote to me and suggested Monday at two o’clock, but of course you would remember that that was the day that we had Senior Counsel Michael Young’s funeral at the same time.  So I asked if there’s another time that we could get together.  His response was to ask for the meeting on Friday and so we are now set for that meeting on Friday I suppose.  I say I suppose because Mister Palacio indicated that he wanted to bring the entire council of management, twenty-five members and I don’t think that that is best for discussions, not best for efficiency and productivity and so I ask, I appeal to him to let us have five on both sides.  We meet at my office on Friday and try to see what can be worked out.”

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