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May 11, 2018

Government Ready to Meet with Teachers on Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Government of Belize and three of the unions is a matter that is still on the table.  The Public Service Union, the Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers are calling for the negotiations to be finalized for the new CBA.  The B.N.T.U. says that Proposal Twenty-two is still outstanding as teachers of grant-assisted schools are calling for an increase in allowances. And so they are now asking for G.O.B. to come back to the table to continue negotiations. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Patrick Faber says that he has received two letters from the unions – and that he will be meeting with them.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“They continue to say that the CBA is a live issue. You remember the last meeting I held with them, when in fact there was a move to close the CBA. Now, in the letter they sent, there are a number of issues they are trying to put back on the table. My suggestion to them and I will grant them the meeting – I will say that now, but my suggestion to them way back then when we met which was maybe a year and a half ago, because ten years is ridiculously long. There were many, many gains and many other accomplishments on the part of what they were asking for including possibly the full thirty percent salary adjustment they were asking for but many other accomplishments that were part of that Collective Bargaining Agreement.  You can’t get everything that you want and there were some things that clearly could not be done at the time. For me, and this was my suggestion to them, and it was certainly the position of the cabinet that we should close those negotiations and move to open new ones.”

 

Reporter

“But Proposal Twenty-two, you consider that one closed?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Indeed. When I met with them the last time, those matters we had agreed could be worked out with the B.N.T.U. and the Ministry of Education. So, it was on the basis, there were those few lingering points we believed could be handled outside of the wider negotiations. In terms of those four schools for instance, what needed to have happened was we met with the Boards – the managing authorities of those schools and they would decide whether they would want to come into the fold of the Government ownership, proprietorship, and management – these are community schools. The ministry indicated that we were serious about doing that, that we were welcoming of that idea. We wanted to come in and sit down and discuss it and that was the position. So, that can’t be the reason why we are holding open the negotiations. But, again, all of this is preliminary and I feel the need to be up front and honest about that. I promise that I will engage, now that I have promised them the meeting indeed, engage with them in an open mind.”

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