Unions to meet with Prime Minister on Friday; is the Collective Bargaining Agreement on the agenda?
The Teachers’ Convention also discussed the hot-button issue, the collective bargaining agreement it is negotiating with the government. This Friday, the Joint Negotiating Team consisting of representatives from B.N.T.U., the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and the National Trade Union Belize Congress of Belize will meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Tensions have been building as the Prime Minister has written to the unions stating that in his view a firm agreement was reached at their February first meeting for salary adjustments to kick in 2014. While this Friday’s meeting involves discussions on how to boost revenue collection, the unions are requesting that their counter-proposal also be placed on the agenda which proposes adjustments this year and a payment floor of five percent. First Vice President of B.N.T.U., Adelaida Guerra says that the results of Friday’s meeting will determine their next step.
Adelaida Guerra, 1st Vice President, B.N.T.U.
“We have been asked to go to a meeting tomorrow, but in that agenda, the Prime Minister only wanted to talk about how we can help to increase the revenue. And we are saying no, we want to include in there the counter-proposal because in a negotiation, they always give you a proposal and then you come back with a counter proposal and then you need to discuss. So that is what we want to be included, but as far as I could tell you, I will not be able tell you anymore about what will happen if because we want to leave it for whatever. If he agrees to have that in the agenda, we are going to go to the meeting and if he does not, then everybody will know what will happen next. I am optimistic that he will because if you look at the minutes of that meeting, it is right there in the meeting where it says, we were not accepting the proposal. It was a proposal as it says there. We mention that we needed to take it back to our membership which we have done and that’s why we have the counter proposal. So I am optimistic that he will think it over and do accept that we include that in the meeting tomorrow.”
“We know that when you guys take industrial action, it is big; with four thousand plus teachers going against the government. Is an industrial action in the near future?”
“I think that will be decided by the membership. The membership, whenever we inform them on whatever takes place tomorrow, they are the ones who gives us the mandate as to what to do and we are going to wait on that.”
It’s a story that we will keep following.