Trade Union Congress Slams Bonus for Non-Striking Teachers
“Not now…not ever!”….the civil society has come out strong against the Government after the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber announced on Monday that non-striking teachers will be given a ‘bonus’ for last October’s eleven-day industrial action. The Belize National Teachers Union, the Christian Workers Union, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and now the National Trade Union Congress of Belize have come out against the incentive. Today in a strongly worded release, the umbrella organization lashed out at G.O.B., saying that the move is undoubtedly a well-orchestrated form of union busting, which it cannot and will not watch being planted and nurtured. The release says, the N.T.U.C.B. “cannot reconcile how on one hand the government has called for austerity measures from the wider community, while on the other, declared its resolute decision to spend one million dollars.” The Congress maintains that there is no need to pay a bonus to some teachers and calls on the government to reconsider the decision. The release ends by saying that this situation can negatively impact the trade union movement in Belize. For context, here’s what Minister Faber said on Monday.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education [April 3rd, 2017]
“While it is we cannot pay compensation fully for those teachers who attended school on those days, we thought that it would be important to give some kind of honorarium to those teachers; and so in consultation with the Prime Minister, we have agreed to set aside one million dollars that will be divided among those teachers as a small honorarium. We are in the process now of bringing together the figures that show those teachers; the managements are submitting those and once we know those numbers we will divide the million dollars among those teachers and we will try to make a payment to them, and we are hoping that this can be done before the Easter break comes fully; so hopefully this week we can get those figures. I think they are already in – we’re just now crunching them and putting them through the system, and we will be able tell you exactly what dollar figure, and it is going to be monies that they get in their account, so to speak, because it will go well for Easter, we think, for many who are looking forward to some kind of compensation for those days.”
When we asked Minister Faber this morning at an event in Belmopan to respond to the allegations of union busting, he declined to give an interview. He says that he will not engage in a back and forth with the union and that the one million dollar honorarium will be distributed as planned.