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Oct 31, 2018

B.N.T.U. Says It Is Fighting for the Natural Justice of All Teachers

Luke Palacio

According to the union, the minister agreed that two aspects of Proposal Twenty-Two would have been negotiated.  It involves all high schools including Ecumenical, Toledo Community College, San Pedro High School and Corozal Community College. These four are under consideration to become government managed schools since they don’t have a proprietor. The second vexing portion was B.N.T.U.’s recommendation for teachers and support staff employed at grant-aided high schools to be guaranteed one hundred percent pension and service benefits upon retirement. At the Prime Minister’s press conference on Monday, DPM Faber went on record to say that the pension and benefits agreement will not be addressed during the negotiations because it is “No longer a live issue.”  The B.N.T.U., the Association of Public Service Managers and the Public Service Union say they are concerned about the very different understanding of what was discussed at its joint negotiating meeting on September fourth, 2018.  Former National President, Luke Palacio explains:

 

Patrick Faber

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

“Our argument from the Belize National Teachers Union as it relates to proposal twenty-two are basically these two; we are talking about natural justice. If the teachers at the grant-aided government secondary schools are getting a hundred percent, then we believe that our teachers and support staff at the grant aided schools should get the same simply because we  teach the same subjects, we are governed by the same education rules, we are employed using the same processes. So why the difference? And secondly, we know that precedent has been set. There are a number of grant-aided schools that have paid this hundred percent to their teachers and support staff. To put it into context; here in Belize City we have Nazarene High School bordered by EP Yorke High School—one is a church/state school, the other is a government school—and those teachers at those institutions will be treated different when it comes to their service benefits. And this is where we have an issue and the problem we have with the minister misspeaking or blatantly telling lies. He also said that he had presented to cabinet a proposal and cabinet would support that legislation be passed to ensure that the proprietors of other grant-aided schools will become responsible to pay that thirty percent. So how could you be telling this nation, that proposal twenty-two will be off except with the exception of discussing those four community schools. We are setting the record straight—our proposal twenty-two speaks to payment, hundred percent service benefits to teachers and support staff. By support staff, we are talking about our bursars, our janitors, our secretaries, finance officer, security personnel that work at these schools just like those at the government secondary schools. And we are not prepared to move from that position.”

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“All of us together disputing what the minister said at that press conference that the Prime Minister held. So it is not B.N.T.U. holding up the CBA being concluded. We have agreed that it will not be concluded until we address proposal twenty-two properly.”

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