B.N.T.U. President Savors Victory Through “Steadfastness”
Palacio went on to note that they had the precedents on their side, as well as the goodwill of their membership and the community, and that was more than enough to finally sway the ministry. He credits the success of their fight to staying the course, even as forces gathered against them demanding that they stand down. The union said it knew it was risking everything when, as Palacio relates, the ministry offered to deduct only the outstanding portion of the days lost due to strike and they told them that they would go back to court instead.
Luke Palacio, National President, Belize National Teachers’ Union
“Yes, it definitely is a success. It has to do with determination and it has to do with making sure that we uphold the laws of this country. The rules are clear, and we always encourage our members, we always encourage managements: read the rules, and let us ensure that we abide by the law, and do not allow anybody to try and come and intimidate us; don’t allow anybody to come and try and bully us into acting in manners that are inconsistent with the law.”
“What would you say got the Ministry to come around?”
“Well, basically, I think it was our steadfast ness: because even during the mediation period, they were saying, “You make up back six days and we dock five days;” and our position was no. if that is your position, then we would prefer to go back to the court so that the judge can make the final decision. And again we need to understand: that had we not come up with these positions and maintain these positions, we would have gone back to court and any number could have played. So I think the fact that we were steadfast – myself; our first vice president Misses (Adelaida) Guerra here and our executive secretary, Miss Keisha Young – we were steadfast and we believed we got the best deal for our members.”