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Apr 15, 2021

P.S.U. Vice Prez Breaks Down Salary Cut Proposal

Will a trade dispute also be filed against Public Service Minister Henry Charles Usher? On Wednesday, the joint unions’ team received a letter from the minister outlining the pay cut.  We can tell you that it is not going to be ten percent straight across the board for all public officers and teachers, but rather, there will be tiered pay cuts.  It says: public officers and teachers making between twelve and twenty thousand dollars annually will get an eight percent pay reduction, while those between twenty and forty thousand dollars will get a ten percent cut. Those above forty thousand dollars will receive a twelve percent cut in their salaries. Housing and entertainment allowances will be reduced by twenty-five percent and the increment freeze is for three years across the board. The unions are to respond by April twentieth with a counter-proposal. After that, the minister says he might decide to advise the Governor General to implement.  P.S.U. Vice President Dean Flowers is not happy and says the union rejects the proposal.  

 

Dean Flowers

Dean Flowers, 1st Vice President, Public Service Union

“A letter came from the Minister of Public Service which threatens to tamper with the Belizean Constitution. Again, I must say the new administration seems to be pulling a script or every possible script out of the Barrow black book because this is the same route that Barrow went down in April when he negotiated for an increment freeze. Now if the Belizean people don’t understand that the Constitution is the second most sacred document, apart from the Bible. If they don’t understand that these people are going down a serious and dangerous road, then I guess we need to start calling for them to wake up. If someone is earning in excess of forty thousand dollars, fifty thousand dollars, they will be cut twelve percent. That would be almost six hundred to seven hundred dollars. That could be the equivalent of a student loan for their children; that could be the equivalent of a small housing loan. For somebody like myself that could be the equivalent of removing two hundred dollars in disposable income to purchase food from Miss Corine or Mister Thimbrel from the market so that’s two hundred that they will not see. That would be six hundred dollars whereby I am no longer able to support the peanuts and pepitos man that come all the way from San Antonio. The proposal does more harm to public officers than good. Whether or not he will evoke and tamper with the Constitution – that’s yet to be seen – the Public Service Union mandate is clear. We reject that, we will stand against that and we will resist that at all cost.”

 

The union also received a letter from the Ministry of Labour which Flowers says reneges on its responsibility to convene the tribunal on the trade dispute. The union is talking with its legal advisors and Flowers says if necessary, a separate trade dispute will be filed with the Minister of the Public Service.


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