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Jan 6, 2014

B.N.T.U. comes out swinging on long-awaited salary adjustments

Dean Barrow

The Belize National Teachers Union came out swinging this morning on a number of issues. The union took umbrage to the prime minister’s recent New Year’s address, in which he touched on the much delayed salary adjustment and announced that it will be holding national rallies.  B.N.T.U., as part of a multilateral body, has been in discussion with government since last year to realize the long overdue adjustment.  PM Barrow announced in his message that the agreed upon changes will come into effect in early August, but B.N.T.U. maintains that an initial agreement between government and the Joint Unions Negotiation Team states that the adjustment will be implemented on July first.  It’s a difference of a few short weeks and even though the fine-tuning will be backdated to the start of the upcoming fiscal year, B.N.T.U. President Luke Palacio says that they are simply sticking to their script.  For context we begin with an excerpt from the PM’s speech.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“And principal among the headline grabbers is the raise of pay for teachers and public officers.  Now it is still too early to calculate exactly the percentage of the salary increase that will be paid in August, retroactive to April.  The formula is that the public servants will get fifty cents out of every additional dollar of recurrent revenue over the agreed base year which government collects.  As of December, those recurrent revenues were up significantly over original projections and this trend is expected to continue through the end of the financial year.  Thus, the preliminary estimates are that when coupled with the annual two percent fixed increments that this administration restored the raise for all those paid by government will be substantial indeed.”


Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“What is of concern to us is that in the prime minister’s New Year’s message he indicated that the salary adjustment would be effective in August, retroactive to April first, 2014.  Our understanding and our agreement so far with the prime minister before his New Year’s message was that this salary adjustment would have become effective in July, first of July, retroactive to April of 2014.  So we do take great umbrage and we are very much concerned that the prime minister would use his New Year’s message to give us this, what we consider to be a wrong signal.  The reasons being that our union, the three unions: the B.N.T.U., the ABSSM and the Public Service Union have been negotiating in good faith.  In fact, we’ve been very patient in trying to ensure that our members keep their calm, that our members try to understand what is going on and how negotiations work.  But when it would appear that the prime minister now wants to move the goalpost we feel very much offended about this and our council of management, our management wants us to demonstrate this in no uncertain terms, that we are not satisfied.  We have been clamoring against the disrespect that has been shown to the unions in these negotiations and we are very much concerned that that practice seems to continue.  So we are taking our stand that this salary adjustment should become effective first of July.”

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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1 Response for “B.N.T.U. comes out swinging on long-awaited salary adjustments”

  1. Rod says:

    This pm is nothing but a big lier and thief plain and simple it’s really funny how the unions act so patient with this pm if it was the pup gov. This would not even be happening they would have been protesting months ago what a farce the the bigotry in this country is astounding hope all a unu Spanish are paying attention .

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