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Feb 12, 2013

A.P.S.S.M.’s Jose Castellanos reappears from hiatus

Since he withdrew from salary adjustments negotiations, A.P.S.S.M. President, Jose Castellanos, had not been heard from, but this morning he agreed to an interview to talk numbers.  And Castellanos says Government’s proposal presented to union leaders needs to be clearly examined. That proposal was made just three days after thousands of very vocal and determined teachers and public officers marched on Belmopan. At the end of the meeting the leaders were on board with the deal and are currently travelling around the country to present it to their membership. But are they trying to sell a premium package or the proverbial pie in the sky? After Castellanos appeared on our morning show, freelance reporter, Mike Rudon, posed that question.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

On Tuesday, January twenty-ninth, schools all over the country shut down as thousands of teachers went to the capital to send a message. That message wasn’t vague. It wasn’t ambiguous. Teachers were demanding salary adjustments.


Three days after, union leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in the Cabinet Room. And after the fire of the protest, the meeting ended with a happy birthday sung to the B.N.T.U.’s George Frazer.


…followed by word that as far as negotiating is concerned, things were looking good.


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.”


Jose Castellanos, President, APSSM t

“Formulas are living creatures—they have a brain of their own—they talk to you but you have to be able to communicate with them. When I look at the formula, the formula I think is a good formula for the government’s side because it assures stability, it assures predictability; it has very little risks and threats. In terms of good times it allows for them to only give ten percent salary increase. But in terms of bad times, it allows government to give the unions nothing to zero.”


Jose Castellanos

Castellanos says the proposal looks exceptional if you’re on the government’s side, but the numbers don’t exactly fit if the teachers and public officers are to benefit from this deal.


Jose Castellanos

“I think the government sounds good because it tells you it’s fifty percent of the growth. But if you look at the last thirty-one years, eighteen years was negative. So fifty percent of a negative number is a negative number. And the last ten years, four has been negative. Again if any of the next four years is negative, you will get a negative number. So my suggestion would be to use not the growth, but the variable itself; the recurrent balance because that figure has been about fifteen percent negative over the last fifteen years and over the last ten years. So it gives you a better chance of getting a positive number; a salary adjustments for the next four years. So those are my two suggestions. One; that you have a minimum and second, that you change from the growth to the actual variable, the recurring balance.”


So far, union leaders have spoken to the membership in the Belize District, Dangriga, Punta Gorda and Belmopan, and word to us is that the reception has been lukewarm. Castellanos says that may be because the membership is getting mixed messages and is still confused about exactly what is being proposed.


Jose Castellanos

“I would urge them to study the formula—don’t take my word for granted. Ask one or two economist to look at the formula, to make an interpretation of the formula and see if they agree with me. So the assessment can show what to expect in the future. People have to be in a position to understand that formula. They have to be able to interpret the formula and be able to evaluate the formula and then make a rational decision of what to expect in the future and if what you expect is acceptable to you, then you go with it. if not, then you have to inform your leaders that they need to make some changes.”


And from all indications, Castellanos regrets leaving the negotiating team and is prepared to get back on board for a little surgery on the numbers which don’t look too good at this point. Mike Rudon for News Five.


Castellanos says that he has not taken part in the consultations with the wider membership at this point, but he has been getting calls from teachers and public officers who are confused about the numbers and aren’t too sure what the proposal means in terms of the financial bottom line. 

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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4 Responses for “A.P.S.S.M.’s Jose Castellanos reappears from hiatus”

  1. melinda says:

    this lee bally look full of himself. why abandon ship and now come back as if you have all the bloody answers? he could have still attended the negotiations, retired or not. something not gelling here

  2. Seletar says:

    Castellanos talks like an accountant I once hired. When I interviewed him, I asked him, “How much is 2 plus 2?”

    And he answered, “HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT IT TO BE?”

  3. comrade says:

    Its a game that is being played here. It seems to me that the unions do not necessary know the rules. Castellanos seems to catch with the rules quickly. His credibility is low consider many sees him as traitor since abandon ship at the most critical time. The rules of negotiations my friends is to never accept a proposal until you have had an opportunty to study and get expert advice. The unions have not passed this basic test. I hope they can regroup and take it back to the gov’t that their memebers are not satisfied with th gov’t proposal

  4. Pelican says:

    Agree with Melinda. This guy is fraudulent!!!

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