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Sep 13, 2016

Minister Finnegan Says Unions Will Get Deferred Adjustments – No Need to Strike

Michael Finnegan

In the wake of Hurricane Earl and due to the present economic climate, government has been lobbying for a deferral of the third tranche of wage increases.  That final adjustment, according to B.N.T.U. President Luke Palacio, was due on July first and is retroactive to the beginning of April.  The Barrow administration, on the other hand, is seeking to put off the payment until the start of the next fiscal year.  The Association of Public Service Senior Managers, A.P.S.S.M., along with the Public Service Union, voted yes to a deferral.  The Belize National Teachers Union, however, has voted against it in a two-to-one split.  Amid the ongoing discussion is talk of industrial action.  While that remains a wait and see situation, Minister Michael Finnegan weighed in on the matter, following today’s Cabinet meeting.


Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing

“The teachers want their raise, don’t want it deferred.  Let me use the proper word, they don’t want their increase to be deferred.  The PSU and the other group say we would, mek we defer it.  So two are saying mek we defer and one says we don’t want to defer, so I think we will have to try to meet with all three organizations again so as to come up with some kind of solution or some final answer then, I should say final answer.  Because remember government noh tell teachers that they won’t give them an increase you know.  The government says with how things stand and so let’s see if we could defer this thing, understand me quite carefully because I’m understanding that teachers are looking to have an industrial strike.  Industrial strike for what?  Government and them don’t have a dispute and government did not say it won’t pay them.  Government just said at this stage, government didn’t say to anybody that they won’t pay them the increase that they are to give them, given the economic conditions and how things are, I will ask you to consider if you would defer this increase.  It didn’t say they won’t give them.  So how did we get to industrial strike?”


Prime Minister Barrow, having received a response from the Joint Unions’ Negotiating Team, has requested an urgent meeting with the tripartite body to see if the deadlock can be broken.

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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