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Jul 10, 2020

Will U.B.F.S.U. Participate in UB’s Virtual Recommendations Meeting?

On Thursday, the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Union held a demonstration to help amplify their voice for the senior administration of UB to engage them in cost-cutting measures as a result of a projected loss of seven million dollars in cash flow. The union, which has yet to be officially certified by the Ministry of Labour, says they have been shut out from the decision making process and it stands to impact its membership. President of UB Clement Sankat will be hosting a virtual meeting on Monday to share recommendations for the university’s way forward amidst the financial crisis. When we spoke with President Pio Saqui of the U.B.F.S.U., he shared that he would need to consult with his members to determine if they will be participating in the virtual meeting.


Pio Saqui, President, U.B.F.S.U.

“We are not blind to the fact or unaware that there will be changes. We know that is going to happen. All we are saying is let’s work on it together so that if I am going to take a hit, I take it equally like everybody else and that the hit I going to take is going to contribute equally for the success of the university and that is really what we are saying. That is why we want and we are going to keep insisting on that so that we can actually get to a good point where the University of Belize will come out creative, innovative, sustainable, and more entrepreneurial so that we don’t have to rely on external economy. We need to see those proposals. What are we going to do? Moreover, how long are we going to be in this financial exigency? How do we know we are out of it? We need to know all of that and we cannot say that until we see the figures that determine how the decisions are going to be made and the proposal are going to be created.”


Pio Saqui

Andrea Polanco

“The meeting on Monday, will you guys be a part of that meeting?”


Pio Saqui

“I don’t know yet. I have to talk to the membership.”


The U.B.F.S.U. is recognized as an association at the university, but not as a union, and that is why they have not been allowed to be the bargaining agent for the faculty and staff. But the union claims they have already fulfilled all requirements. Well, this afternoon the Ministry of Labour sent out a three page press release regarding the process of Certification of Trade Unions. According to the release, there are six steps to complete, including an application to the Tripartite Body; and the execution of a survey to determine if the union has at least fifty-one percent of employees in the bargaining unit. Once that is done, then the tripartite body certifies the union. In the case of the U.B.F.S.U., the survey was conducted on January tenth, 2020, which confirmed that the Union has the required support. The release notes that meetings set for February, March and May didn’t materialize and now it will take place this coming Monday. According to the release, an online meeting was held on Thursday with representatives from the Ministry of Labour and the Union. And while the union has made public its grievances, the release states that it was the first time that these challenges were brought to the attention of Labour; the Commissioner has requested an official report. 

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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