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Apr 25, 2005

Just in: Public officers will strike

In news just in, the Public Service Union of Belize has officially announced its plans to take industrial action against the Government of Belize. In a letter dated today and addressed to Marcial Mes, Minister of Labour and Local Government, the P.S.U. states that this action is in solidarity with the National Trade Union Congress. It reads and we quote:

The Public Service Union, in solidarity with the National Trade Union Congress is instituting Industrial Action against the Government of Belize. This industrial action will initially take the form of a national shutdown commencing at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, twenty-sixth April 2005 and will continue for an indefinite period.

This national shutdown has become necessary for several reasons including, but not limited to the following:

1. The imposition of new and increased taxes that has seriously eroded the benefits of salaries increases recently awarded.

2. The rapid deterioration of working conditions and environment on account of austerity measures imposed by the government on the public services.

3. The general loss of confidence in the administration of government due to blatant mismanagement and abuse of public funds at the Development Finance Corporation and the Social Security Board, and the imposition of heavy fines against the Government of Belize by a United States judge due to the Belize Telecommunications Limited fiasco.

4. Breach of International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions #87 and 98 with respect to Freedom of Association, the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining.

5. Breach of agreement made with unions on 11th February 2005, particularly with respect to:
a. Appointment of a Forensic Auditor on the Development Finance Corporation Commission of Inquiry.
b. Appointment of Union representatives on the Central Bank Board of Directors.

It is for these reasons that the Council of Management of the Public Service Union has also endorsed the position of the National Trade Union Congress, asking for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Government.

We wish to assure you, Honourable Minister, that the decision taken by our Union is not based on party politics, but based on the genuine concerns of Public Officers countrywide and out desire for meaningful improvement in the governance of our country.

The letter is signed, sincerely, Dylan Reneau, President of the Public Service Union. We’ll have more on this development in tomorrow’s newscast.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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