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Feb 7, 2023

Fourteen Long Years of B.N.T.U.-G.O.B. Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations

Elena Smith

Another issue raised by the head table at today’s joint union press conference is the prolonged negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement between the Belize National Teachers Union and the Government of Belize. Fourteen years have passed since the signing of the new deal. Elena Smith, the President of the Belize National Teachers Union, explained why the process had been drawn out.


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

“We also have the issue of the collective bargaining agreement. For those of you who have been following us you would know that we are heading towards what year fifteen. We are getting to year fifteen and we have not yet closed our CBA. I believe that is history. I don’t know which other union would have had to wait that long to conclude a collective bargaining agreement. There is one aspect to the CBA that we have not been able to conclude. For us at the BNTU it is an important aspect because it affects our secondary school teachers. I want for you to think for a moment. You are working and at the end of your working career your boss says to you, you know what I can only give you seventy percent of what you should be getting. The other thirty percent you fight me for that. And by the time you would have gone through the court you would have spent ten, fifteen of that on attorney’s. So beside looking at the fact of the seventy-thirty, Minister Henry Usher said to us that the churches simply cannot afford to pay these teachers. They don’t have the money. Now, you own a school, you have employees and you know what are your responsibilities and you don’t prepare for thirty five years down the road and then the government will say to us they don’t have money. They can’t afford it. All of us give collection and those teachers have to fundraise to be able to assist those schools. So, what are we doing with those moneys? Have those schools been audited?


According to Smith, transportation and hardship allowances for teachers are also points of contention.

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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