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Feb 6, 2013

Salary adjustment depends on surplus

After meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow last Friday, leaders of the Public Service Union, Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers agreed on a proposal set forward by government to resolve the salary adjustment dispute. On Saturday, those leaders took that proposal to their wider executive bodies and again, the proposal was accepted by a majority. Currently, those union representatives are dealing with the final and largest hurdle—selling the proposal to their membership. Today, P.M. answered questions from the media following an appearance on Love F.M. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon has that story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

After thousands of vocal teachers marched on Belmopan…after threats of a national strike which would effectively shut down the country…after hardline positions by government officials and very aggressive comments from Minister of National Security John Saldivar, the actual meeting with the Prime Minister and union leaders seemed anti-climactic; and a resolution seems imminent or so the Prime Minister hopes.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I think the proposals are the very essence of reasonableness. I have the kind of respect for the leaders that suggested to me that they will be able to persuade the members of their councils to take the same line; to endorse their approach. Where things may get a little hairy is when B.N.T.U. goes to the general membership. I think all bets are off then, but I would hope that the general membership would feel that the president and the joint council acted realistically, acted reasonable and that it is in the interest of the country—it is in the interest of all of us for this proposal to be accepted and for us to move forward on that basis.”


But here’s the kicker. Coming out of the meeting with the Prime Minister, both he and the union leaders were a little vague on the actual details of the proposal. Union leaders have been saying that while the exact percentage isn’t certain, they have ensured a salary adjustment. But according to the Prime Minister it’s more a matter of we can’t pay what we don’t have, and next year we will only pay it if we have it.


Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U. {File: February 4th, 2013}

“We have ensured now that there is going to be a mechanism in place that there is a salary adjustment—it may not necessarily be at the quantum that we had originally requested, but all indications are that it would be. Either close to that, but definitely each year, we should be able to see some adjustment in our salary.”


Dean Barrow

“What I offered was this; there can be no salary increases this year, but there can be the possibility of salary increases next fiscal year which will be 2014/2015 and for each of the succeeding two years thereafter. But whether or not there will be salary increases will depend on the performance of government’s recurrent revenue. In other words, this year that is ending 2012/2013, when we see what the recurrent revenue figure is, we will use that as a benchmark and then in 2014/2015, if there is an increase in government’s revenue collection—if the recurrent revenue goes up over the benchmark year—fifty percent of the extra revenue collected will go to the teachers and public officers by way of a raise. Why fifty percent? Because that is the current ratio of salaries to recurrent revenue.”


So if Belize’s expected GDP growth results in a growth of recurrent revenue, or if the nation finds a significant amount of oil, or if revenues materialize from some other source, then it’s all good. But if none of that happens, then…well how about we cross that bridge when we get to it.


Dean Barrow

“All I can tell you is that what was put on the table on Friday and what was accepted represents an accurate reflection of where we are in terms of finances and where we can be depending on how the recurrent revenue collections go.”


What it works out to, then, is a commitment based on an expectation premised on an estimate of figures, factors and events in the future. Mike Rudon for News Five.


The meeting with their membership will conclude next week after which a position will be presented. Generally, as a rule of thumb, if the union leaders agree and the wider executive branches agree, then the agreement of the masses is only a matter of time and protocol. But this time it is not known if there will be widespread support. 

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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7 Responses for “Salary adjustment depends on surplus”

  1. sickntired says:

    The govt really pull a good one on them dunce union leaders. They no understand that next year once again govt will not have any money. This is why they need independent advice from smart people. But hey better they live in ignorance that way they will postpone the strikes until when it will be more effective.

  2. blackberry says:

    General sales tax department (GST) could play a major role in ensuring that these public servants get their salary adjustment by making sure that the GST laws are implemented in its proper form. Tightening should be done to the merchants to pay the GST instead of pocketing it for themselves

  3. Just saying says:

    It is regrettable that the union leaders went into that meeting without independent legal counsel by their side. Although I have the greatest of respect for teachers and their intellect, they are not perspicacious enough to deal with the master of words, the PM. I am very sorry, but they have been had by the PM. The PM has made mincemeat of them.

  4. not again says:

    Bye, bye the votes for Faver. I guess Gapy will win. Teachers have very good memory.

  5. Bear says:

    Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

    All GOB talk about taxes, revenue, expenditures and the like are smoke and mirrors. You start with the premise, per the auditor general’s report, that the national books of account are incomplete and fraudulent, and go downhill from there.

    I wish the Governor General and the Crown would act to depose the regime like they recently did in Cayman, and let us start fresh, learning from our past bad experiences and decisions. New constitution, new leaders, new parties, and criminal investigations, trials, and prison for all past crooked leaders.

  6. Belizean Patriot says:

    I cannot understand how supposedly intelligent people such as these union leaders could accept such a deal, no wonder our schools are failing.

  7. Linden says:

    The teachers got taken off the dribble…LMAO!

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