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Feb 1, 2013

P.M. and N.T.U.C.B. harmonize at negotiations

At about one o’clock this afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow personally came downstairs of the Sir Edney Cain Building to escort the media into the cabinet room where he had been meeting with the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association for Public Service Senior Managers, via the N.T.U.C.B. A proposal was presented by the Prime Minister and his team in the respect of a Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been on the negotiating table for years. But how much progress has been reached in regards to salary adjustments? Well, the P.M. had the unions literally singing to his tune. News Five Jose Sanchez Reports from the capital.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

This was the sound of three to four thousand union members demanding some satisfaction and respect for their collective bargaining agreement. And inside the Cabinet room earlier today, these are the smiles on the union leaders, amidst a discussion with the government’s negotiation team. Had a compromise been struck between the N.T.U.C.B. and the P.M.’s negotiating team?


Marvin Blades

Marvin Blades, President, PSU

“As you know, we had a joint council meeting along with the Prime Minister and his team. We want to express that it was a cordial meeting. A lot of suggestions and concrete proposals were presented. We cannot go into the details of those proposals until we’ve discussed it with our membership. But we must say we want to thank the Prime Minister for having this cordial meeting. And it was a mutual respect on both sides and so we’ll go back to our people before we dispel anything to the media.”


The meeting included others such as Ambassador Mark Espat and Financial Secretary Joe Waight. The union’s economist Jose Castellanos had bowed out of the numbers meeting and he was replaced by former B.N.T.U. General Secretary, George Frazer.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I want to echo what the two presidents said; the meeting was extremely cordial and conducted on a basis of complete mutual respect and that was what was most important for me. I needed to signal very clearly to these gentlemen and ladies and to the nation that we view these union leaders, these social leaders, as equal partners with the political leaders, with the government, in the process of moving this country forward. And the substance of the discussions apart, the atmosphere was of utmost importance and I am very happy that we were able to behave throughout the meeting as the leaders of this country that we all are.”


Luke Palacio

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

“Well basically tomorrow our Council of Management will be meeting here at the Convention Hotel in Belmopan where we will then be presenting to our council the proposal, the discussion, the matters we’ve raised. And we have then again agreed that we will—depending on their response—be in touch with the Prime Minister to give him an update.”


And on Saturday’s meeting, teachers are likely to bring up the Minister of National Security, who was not invited to the negotiating table, but nonetheless slighted the nation’s teachers on WAVE radio.


John Saldivar

Voice of: John Saldivar, Minister of National Security {File January 31, 2013}

“I am going to travel the entirety of this country, meeting with teachers. And if they no want come dah meeting, I gwen dah come to their house. I will find a way to meet them. So they know the facts of my what my government’s position is; what are we offering because these leaders have a political agenda. I like it when they have a political agenda because it brings them in my arena—because my arena is politics.  And so, if they think they can play politics better than me, then we will get in there and rumble.”


Luke Palacio

“I won’t say the problem does not exist, but basically we have agreed on a way forward. With the proposals that have been made, we know that the door is still open. We know that the negotiations will continue. And basically like the President of the Public Service Union has said, we met in a cordial atmosphere and for good industrial relations, we want to be able to go back to our membership and then move on from there.”


But for today, hope oozed from the smiles in the room.  So much so,   that the Prime Minister began the Cabinet’s rendition of Happy Birthday for George Frazer.


Dean Barrow

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear George; happy birthday to you.”


Now the leaders must take the proposals to their membership for consideration. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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4 Responses for “P.M. and N.T.U.C.B. harmonize at negotiations”

  1. Rod says:

    Even these unions are a joke they have been offered money to accept whatever the gov wants even these union leaders are corrupt teachers you are being duped by your own leaders who have been offered money to accept whatever gov and this pm wants .

  2. sickntired says:

    You see everybody happy again so why complain in the first place? I just hope i get plenty bets in that udp going to win a third time and the wheels going to go around again, we really got a country full of strange people

  3. javier solis says:

    All respect, but George should take a powder now and chill in retirement. He does not make sense when he talks and if he wants to be remembered in a good light, keep away from the spotlight.

  4. ceo says:

    Very good move Mr PM. Now let’s see some real progress. Teachers are for too long been neglected.

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