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May 3, 2021

Teachers & P.S.U. Picket P.M. Office

Today marks the second week of industrial action by the Belize National Teachers Union and the final day before the Public Service Union begins a strike of its own. As we have been reporting, members of the joint unions are taking industrial action against government’s ten percent salary cut for public officers and three-year increment freeze.  The unions are also calling on the government to implement more good governance legislation.  At midday today, members of the P.S.U. and B.N.T.U. held a solidarity march in the City of Belmopan. News Five’s Paul Lopez was there.

 

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Members of the Belize National Teachers Union and the Public Service Union braved the sweltering heat today to continue their protests against the government of Belize. At midday, teachers and public officers marched around the National Assembly Building and the Sir Edney Cain Building which houses the Prime Minister’s office.

 

Gerald Henry

Gerald Henry, President, P.S.U.

“Today is pretty much the last day for us to be doing these solidarity marches here in Belmopan, just to keep up the momentum with regards to the industrial actions that we have been taking. As of tomorrow, P.S.U. members will officially be on strike as you rightly mentioned. So the intensity of these actions will certainly be increased. I can’t tell you exactly all that will be happening, but certainly there will be an increase to the intensity of our actions.”

 

That increase in intensity says President Henry means that more public officers will leave their offices and hit the streets in protest for as long as these strike actions last. But just how much support do the unions have since the ten percent salary cut and three year increment freeze are not “done deals.”

 

Gerald Henry

“Our polls that we took which were done on two days over the weekend over the weekends. Two polls were done about two weeks ago on a Saturday and a final poll on the Sunday. We got about ninety percent of those who attended saying they are interested in strike actions.”

 

Members of the Belize National Teachers Union outnumbered the members of the Public Service Union today. So where were the P.S.U. members?

 

Gerald Henry

“What happened is that remember our public officers are still on the job. Some of them were not able to make it out. I think they are gearing up for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a long day and so I think it is possible that they are just saving themselves for a much longer day tomorrow and after this, because after this it will be every single day that we will be taking actions.”

 

The unions plan to march through the streets of Belize City on Tuesday.

 

Gerald Henry

“We expect a huge crowd tomorrow with the other unions coming in and providing us with additional solidarity, to increase our numbers and to show that it is not only a PSU, BNTU, APSSM issue. The other unions are not just in solidarity with us, just to be in solidarity. It does not work that way. They must believe in what we are fighting for as well. And certainly, from the fact that they are willing to come out with us to sacrifice their bodies in this extreme heat it must mean that they also believe in the fight, the cause that we are taking actions for against the present administration on this particular issue.”

 

Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.


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