Unions call Saldivar and G.O.B. actions union busting
While News Five spoke to the president of the Belmopan branch, the national President of the B.N.T.U. Luke Palacio was in a session with the President of the Public Service Union Marilyn Blades and the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers Jose Castellanos. This meeting also took place in the capital. The three presidents signed a letter which condemned the actions by the government. It says, “The Joint Negotiations Team views this as an attempt at union busting and therefore we advise the teachers to boycott the meeting by not attending or to go to their respective schools during the scheduled meeting. We also condemn this act of bad faith on the part of the Government of Belize.” Our colleagues at Plus TV spoke to them in Belmopan.
Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.
“This is coincidence that this happened today at the same time when that letter came out from the district education officer in charge of the Belmopan area in which they have indicated that the Government of Belize through the office of the honorable John Saldivar, after consultation with the Ministry of Education, is inviting teachers in the area to attend a meeting to discuss the collective bargaining. We feel that this is an attempt at union busting. Belize national teachers union along with our joint negotiating team has prepared a statement that has been sent out to the media in which we are advising the teachers to boycott that meeting—either they stay at home or report to their regular place of work during the time of the schedule meeting. We see this as acting in bad faith. Every time we went to negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement, never was there a time that an area representative would have called constituents to discuss these matters. We believe that if the government is serious about addressing this issue, they were given ample opportunity by letters sent directly to the office of the honorable Prime Minister asking his intervention at which time he had sent three ministers to participate in the negotiations. And never was an area representative and in this particular case, the honorable John Saldivar, asked to be a part of that team. We at the union are saying we are not doing anything illegal. We are legally registered bodies; the three unions that are negotiating—this is a part of industrial relations—and we expect to operate in an atmosphere of good industrial relations. And so we condemn this act and we strongly advice our teachers not to participate in tomorrow’s meeting.”