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Oct 27, 2016

Teacher’s Union Sticks To Guns: No Ministry Interference

Luke Palacio

Will Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber get to meet with the Belize National Teachers’ Union on Friday? The answer depends on the outcome of a prior meeting of the Union’s Council of Management on Friday morning. At a press briefing held this afternoon, the Union’s top figures, Executive Secretary Keesha Young and President Luke Palacio, detailed the decisions they will be taking.

 

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“Tomorrow the Council meets to decide whether or not we are going to agree to a smaller number of persons going to meet with the Minister; two, to make absolutely clear that our Strike Fund is not to be used for that purpose, and if he insists on that, then I believe we will definitely be deadlocked; and, it is not the purview of the Minister or the Ministry to determine how the make-up time is gonna be done; that is the purview of the managements. The managements along with their teachers will determine how best to make up the time, and they can communicate that to the Ministry. But for the Minister to say he wants to sit down and then we must agree on how the make-up time will be done – I think he is going beyond his bounds. Also, the ruling of the Court, the Education and Training Act, the Education Rules, clearly, clearly state that in this Church-State arrangement, which is generally called the grant-aided arrangement, where Government transfers sums of monies from the national budget to managements of schools for them to pay teachers, that that arrangement cannot just be arbitrarily changed.”

 

Palacio cited a section of the Education Rules which calls for one year’s notice to school managements of any changes, including the Government potentially taking over disbursements of payments.

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