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Jan 21, 2013

Strike on horizon; N.T.U.C.B. supports teachers

Dialogue between the Barrow Administration and the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union, as well as the Association of Public Service Senior Managers concerning the long overdue salary adjustment resumed in mid 2012, following a four year suspension.  Since then the parties have been in negotiations; but have failed to arrive at an agreement for teachers and public officers.  The denial of the thirty percent increase for seniors and thirty five percent for juniors is placing G.O.B. and teachers dangerously close to strike action.  The government has gone on record to say that it cannot meet the demand of the unions.  Earlier today News Five spoke to the President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, about its position in respect of the B.N.T.U. decision to demonstrate and possibly strike.


Dylan Reneau, President, N.T.U.C.B.

“On Saturday we had a general council meeting and that has the representation of all the unions and they were all present.  The three unions gave an update as to where they are with the salary adjustment negotiations and after that negotiation there was a robust discussion about what was reported.  It was the position of all the affiliates of the N.T.U.C.B. that they are going to support the three affiliates involved in this salary adjustment negotiation, the APSSM, which is the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, the Public Service Union of Belize and the Belize National Teachers Union.  We have received an update as to an initial plan of action and we are going to execute that plan of action with our three affiliates.  Now if it goes all the way to the point of industrial action the N.T.U.C.B. is certainly going to be behind its three affiliates on the matter because we believe that the stance that they’ve taken is only fair.  Just to give a quick background, the last salary increase that was approved in this country to public officers, teachers and the senior managers was in 2001 and the last tranche of that was executed in 2005.  But you wouldn’t realize that we were negotiating for a period prior to 2001, and so, since 2001 to now we’ve not gotten an adjustment for inflation and you are well aware of the inflationary effects on goods.”


Additionally, the N.T.U.C.B. says that while the government has made an effort to avoid tax increases, it has been unsuccessful at controlling inflation.  The recently approved increase in electricity rates compounded with steep fuel prices, the N.T.U.C.B. president says will only make matters worse. Coupled with that is government’s dismissive approach to the unions’ requests.


Dylan Reneau

Dylan Reneau

“I would want to characterize government’s behavior as being more, not necessarily heavy-handed, but to basically push aside the opinion of the union and that has been so because we’ve been trying to work with government in order to get this country back on track, get us into greater economic prosperity.  But you will realize that the business community is hurting because we don’t have the disposable income to buy and so they’ve been bawling.  And more so, we are bawling now because of the increase in the electricity rates recently.  That is going to impact our disposable income tremendously as well as the high fuel cost which doesn’t seem to be going down anytime soon.  And so those also have inflationary impact on goods and so we saw it prudent to make that stance now.  And so the stance, though it may seem not sensible right now because of the economic situation, it is a stance that must be taken because while we’ve been waiting our time and trying to work things out it appears as if though they were not going to be getting any conclusion anytime soon because what the minister said, “check back with me in three years time” doesn’t seem practical because then they will have the payment for B.T.L. and B.E.L. to deal with.”


While the recent focus has been on teacher salary, discussions have been ongoing with the ministers of education, public service and labor.

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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5 Responses for “Strike on horizon; N.T.U.C.B. supports teachers”

  1. Storm says:

    We can’t bankrupt the nation to give teachers, good and bad, a huge windfall. Reality is that the nation’s economy, and the world economy, is devastated more than it has been during the lifetime of almost anyone — you have to be in your 90′s to remember times as bad as these.

    It would be grossly unfair to make every other Belizean sacrifice so much, and move closer to poverty, to enrich every teacher beyond reason.

    Times are very tough. We need to share the sacrifice to get through them. I don’t oppose any and all increases, but those demanded are unfair. 10% seems more fair, in line with the economic realities, and MAYBE something that can actually be achieved.

  2. blackberry says:

    GOB has resort to scare tactics on the unions. The making of a documentary on the performance of Caribbean countries should not have been made before GOB cutting as much fat from within its Departments.

  3. Storm Inform Yourself please says:

    I see posting on all the news items storm, but it has not been an unreasonable demand. Please read the history of the collective bargaining agreement that has been proposed. They are not asking for 30% one lick, but more like COMMITMENT for this increase over a period of time, as happened in 2001. its more like 5% annually

  4. northern star says:

    It would be good if the Union would stop taking school time to run union business. Teachers get the most time off of all the workers in Belize

  5. sickntired says:

    I notice that whenever public officers and teachers get a raise the prices in the stores go up the next day. So if we notice this inflation pattern we can’t expect anything to be different in the future so imagine how worse the situation will be for poor people who have no job or get no raise of pay and then we will have more criminal activity as the survival job. The union needs to demand that the government grow the economy and instead of threatening strike action threaten to vote them out next go round

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