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Dec 15, 2022

Fourteen Years of B.N.T.U. and M.O.E. Negotiations over Collective Bargaining Agreement

Elena Smith

The Belize National Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education have been unable to finalize a revised Collective Bargaining Agreement for the past fourteen years. And, yet another year is coming to an end without the conclusion of that document. It has been a long-drawn-out process due to differences of views and opinions on several issues that have seen teachers from across the country take to the streets. But, according to President Smith, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. She says that progress was made in 2022. The B.N.T.U. is now hopeful a new Collective Bargain Agreement will be settled by the end of this fiscal year.


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

“In terms of progress, we did have, I think we probably met twice with the Ministry to discuss some of the matters. Some of the feedback we got from the minister in particular were very promising and when I say that it is because we had shared with the ministry prior some recommendations as to how we can finalize those outstanding areas and some of them wouldn’t have taken long. It just ended that will to do that. And, as I shared this morning, the minister has informed that Cabinet has pressed that we finalize this matter and we see where one of the issues that we were dealing with under proposal twenty-two was the matter of the secondary schools, the grant aides secondary schools and the seventy/thirty thing, as well as the community schools, because we have to look at who owns these schools and who will be held accountable for paying these teachers the additional thirty percent. We have made a bit of movement on that. We have to now sit and put it in writing. For example, the Toledo Community College has made some inroads with their position. So, we want to finalize those and put them in writing, sign off on them and we can go through. One of them will require possible changes to the Pension Act, and that shouldn’t take very long. So, these are not things that are not that are difficult to do. A few of them, for example the secondary school teachers with commuting allowance and hardship would require some financing of course, but I don’t think that those are things that are unachievable. So, I am looking forward, before the end of this fiscal year to close off on that C.B.A.”

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