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Feb 9, 2023

Minister Fonseca Responds to Demands of the Joint Union Negotiating Team

Francis Fonseca

On Wednesday, you heard the Prime Minister respond to the unions. During the union’s press conference on Tuesday, the issue of increments, travel allowances, and the collective bargaining agreement for teachers came up. The B.N.T.U. and Public Service Union demanded that the Government restore them by April first or else. Today, we asked Minister of Education Francis Fonseca and a Joint Unions Negotiating Team member about the Union demands. Fonseca addressed the issue of the almost fifteen-year negotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.


Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

“We have been in Government for two years, and they allowed the previous Government to kick the can down the road and never held their feet to the fire. Now they want us to resolve all these issues in two years, coming out of a COVID pandemic where the economy was on life support. We are just beginning to get back on our feet. So we are absolutely committed to working in a respectful way with the Belize National Teachers Union on these issues. There are issues that are of importance to us. The increments, the C.B.A., the allowances – these are all issues that are important to us because we know our teachers make sacrifices. But you can’t have one standard for the previous Government where you allow them to do this for twelve years, get nowhere, and now you want to say to us, in two years, you must resolve all these issues. No, we are absolutely committed to resolving these issues during this term in office, but we have three years to go. Ninety-five percent of the C.B.A. has been agreed upon. There are only about five percent of the issues that are outstanding. Obviously, these are serious issues, and they are not issues that are solely in the province of the Ministry of Education. They are largely financial matters which require the Ministry of Finance to give their approval and Cabinet to give its approval. So we are absolutely going to work with them. Proposal twenty-two is a critically important issue that we have to discuss under the C.B.A.”

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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