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Apr 14, 2021

Is the B.N.T.U. Preparing to Strike?

Elena Smith

On Tuesday, you heard that the Public Service Union has put G.O.B. on notice of a trade dispute. Their work-to-rule campaign has already started as an initial form of industrial action. Well today, News Five confirmed that the Belize National Teachers Union ran a poll of its membership and the results are in. They too will strike.  The normally accessible president Elena Smith has hunkered down with the leadership which has entered emergency planning mode.  An internal memo leaked online suggests that the campaign will be very highly visible, with picketing in front of businesses and a boycott of gas stations which owe taxes. There will also be protests in front of the two telecommunication companies and a walkout of schools. The memo even speaks to demonstration on the highway, which they claim will be blocked for fifteen minutes. This course of action comes on the heels of government’s budget presentation that reflects a ten percent salary cut and increment freeze for three years. Was it all foreshadowed by Senator Smith back in March?


Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U. [File: March 11th, 2021]

“As a union, we do not instruct our teachers; our members instruct us. And so as the president, I have no choice but to go to the mandate of the majority of our branches. So we have ten branches, once six branches say we will do X, we have no choice; the other four has to follow behind and do. And so we have agreed on a series of activities for right now and our teachers know and I guess people know that when they see those green shirts coming out, they know that something’s happening. So something might be happening.”

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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