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May 7, 2021

Joint Unions Shows Strength in Numbers

Today, the joint unions saw one of their largest membership turnouts to date since the Belize National Teacher’s Union began its strike actions last week Monday.  Protestors were bused in from all six districts.  The protest stretched for several blocks as those in attendance marched through the main streets of Belize City.  For the joint unions, today’s display of numbers was an attempt at showing the government just how strong and united the unions are.  President of the Public Service Union Gerald Henry told News Five that he believes they were successful in doing so, while B.N.T.U.’s President Senator Elena Smith says there could be a bigger showing. 


Gerald Henry, President, P.S.U.

“We decided to do this the day before yesterday, well actually yesterday in fact, after we left the meeting. What this is all about is simply a show of solidarity from several our members as possible. We have always been holding back. I have always told you and other reporters that we have been holding back in terms of our numbers. And we still did not really engage with all our numbers. We just wanted to show a little more force out there today, just to show what the support is like. And moving forward you will see this will grow and grow and grow until again like I said, we need to get the government back and realize this thing is very serious.”


Gerald Henry

Paul Lopez

“Do you believe you were successful in showing that strength you intended to show today?”


Gerald Henry

“I certainly feel that way. I am certainly proud of all the members that came out, all the unions that came out, to fight for what they deserve. We are not fighting for something we want, it is what we deserve.  We have always continued working. We have not stopped working. In fact, we have been working overtime and not getting paid overtime. So for the government to want to come and cut the ten percent it is really unfair. And so I guess this is what is shows out here that it is not only myself, but when I speak, I speak on behalf of my membership.”


Elena Smith

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

“Since we been on strike this time around this has been the biggest crowd we have had. But again we have always said that we try to maintain as much as we possibly can the protocols in place. But there comes a time when your members say enough is enough and you must show our power. So today was that day when they felt that more of them needed to be out. So, we did not stop them from coming out. It is not our biggest showing, but it is a bigger showing.”


Evan “Mose” Hyde

Evan “Mose” Hyde Jr.,  President, C.W.U.

“Christian workers Union dah wah affiliate ah the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, which means that we dah all sister unions. So first of all, you have the N.T.U.C.B. position that is in support of the joint unions. Additionally, CWU has within the executive and executive committee with reps from all eleven units that we are a part of, found consensus that we are in support of the joint unions. This is not our first event with the joint unions. This is my second. I was at a protest in Belmopan, along with several the brothers that you see here from the stevedore’s family. Its, um, there is a duty because so many of our members would want to physically demonstrate that they are in support with their sisters and brothers. But because of their work situation, are unable to do that. So, ultimately, we duty bound that we have the ability to come out to do so, and so that is what we have done here today.”


Today marks ten days since the Belize National Teachers Union commenced its strike actions. Our records show that teachers also strike for ten days back in 2005. Historically, the longest period of strike actions by teachers was eleven days, which occurred in 2016.

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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