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Jan 4, 2019

Hardship Allowances Still Not Ironed Out; B.N.T.U. Presses On

Elena Smith

Belize National Teachers Union President Elena Smith says that the union is not backing down from its rejection of the school managements docking of teachers salaries for November seventh. The teachers were out of the classrooms that day because they were demonstrating in Belmopan about hardship allowances, among other issues. Well, the hardship matter is still not resolved. It’s been almost four months since the talk about re-categorization of schools and more than fifty percent of teachers have not received any hardship allowances. Smith explains why they must stand for this issue.


Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“The reason for our demonstration on the seventh was as it relates to hardship and time off for pay. We are now in January, the new year. Hardship allowances and commuting allowances are given from September. It has been from September, October, November, and December – four months! And we have over fifty percent of our teachers have not yet received those allowances. Have you heard anything from the Ministry to say, management you must do this so that these teachers get these things on time? No. They don’t even say anything to their own management. But they want to put out something to say that they support the docking to teachers’ salaries. Let me just point out in terms of hardship, those were matters that we negotiated. And so when you have a benefit given to you, if you are on a contract for example and this is your package, when you go and get another contract your package is not less than what you have before. Nobody bargains for less. So, now you want to re-categorize these schools instead if adding those who need to be added and if there are some who are no longer in existence and need to be removed, then you do so. But nobody bargains for less and the Ministry is saying to our teachers, in some way, that some of you will be getting less than what you were getting before. Who in their right mind would accept less? It is like if you hire me this year and you give me this salary and then next year you hire me on another year contract and I get less. And I will say no problem, I will take less and the following year I take less again. No that is nonsense. If it is that we have to involve the N.T.U.C.B. in coming on board with us to address these matters, if we have to go to the ILO and if we have to go to the Caribbean Union of Teachers in the region to support our teachers, we are going to be doing that.”


The list for the re-categorization of hardship allowances for schools is not yet finalized. Smith says there will be a meeting this month to review this matter. 

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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