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Apr 25, 2017

Faber Says Striking Teachers Would Also Benefit from Honorarium

Minister of Education Patrick Faber told reporters on Monday that a final figure and number of teachers who would qualify for the honorarium being offered by the Ministry of Education for work done during the eleven-day strike period last October and the four days allocated for make up in January has not been determined. But he estimated that as much as six hundred thousand dollars will be spent from monies remaining from the salary line item in the Budget. So how would teachers qualify and how much would they get – and is it intended as punishment for the majority of teachers who sacrificed class time to march with the Belize National Teachers’ Union? According to Faber, those who showed up to work during the days allocated by court order for make-up in Easter break and at the start of the summer vacation will also benefit.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We thought that if we are giving an honorarium, it is sufficed to give to those who turned up, those who worked in the strike and also those who worked in the January four days, because it would be an accurate reflection of – in fact, in the Easter and Summer break, all teachers would be working…”

 

Reporter

“So union members included?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Of course union members would be included. So when we looked at those numbers, we decided – and we set aside the million as we said – if you attended the bulk of the days in the strike period, you can qualify for, I think, maybe three hundred dollars and if you attended four days, the bulk of those four days, it may have been you could qualify for two hundred dollars. But no teacher received in excess of five hundred dollars on honorarium and it was for both periods and not one and it was not compensation for anything; which has to be fair, has to be the best that could be done under the circumstances, without shortchanging anybody. Look, the teachers who went on strike were paid their full 11 days. And so we maintain that this is not the ideal thing, probably not, but nothing illegal, no kind of hanky-panky going on, no kind of twisting. In fact, I am glad that because we are doing things properly – you were hinting to those who were accusing us of meddling; well if were meddling, wouldn’t the people have gotten their money before the convention, to, affect the outcome – to show you that it is utter nonsense. It is the P.U.P. and their friends, who quite often get into these positions in the chamber and in the N.T.U.C.B. and in the N.G.O. communities that push these agenda; and why I say that? It’s because they didn’t bother to check for the facts.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, so to speak specifically about the charge from the unions, do you reject the claim that it is trying to union bust by rewarding those who did not stand with the unions?”

 

Patrick Faber

“It is not rewarding those who did not stand with the unions; it is rewarding those who stood for our children, it is rewarding those who came additional days. What if we had said, those people worked additional days, those people who worked the four days in January, we will pay them in full? What if we had said, those who come to work in Easter for the three days, who were not on strike, would be paid in full? What if we would say the three days in the summer would be paid in full? How can that be union-busting – paying people for work that they did? They turned up to work the eleven days; they turned up to work four days in January; they turned up to work three days in Easter. So aren’t these people to be compensated for work that they did? These are extra days, however you want to argue it; these are days that people worked; ought not they be paid for days that they worked for?”

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