While the Union is unhappy with the Ministry of Education’s decision to dock teachers’ salaries, the BNTU also shares concerns about the rising cost of living and the diminishing purchasing power of its members. Last year, teachers and public officers collected the third and final portion of a salary increase granted by the Government. The negotiations for the increase had initiated from as far back as 2010 under then national President Jaime Panti. His successor President Luke Palacio took up the mantle and in 2014 there was finally an agreement with GOB but it wasn’t the 30% requested. The new President now believes, that with the spike in the cost of food and other essentials, it is time to put the issue of salaries back on the negotiating table.

Screen_Shot_2018-05-08_at_7.56.00_PMElena Smith, President Belize National Teachers Union

“Of course we are concern but the previous negotiations those benefits were already given those that were agreed to be given to our teachers. For another salary adjustment we have to do a next round of negotiations but we cannot do that unless we conclude the one that we have and that one has not yet concluded so we have written to the minister to request that we continue with that process we have not heard from him as yet not even an acknowledgment so far am not sure if he responded to the other Union presidents but we have not heard anything and so we want to conclude that one so that we can start working on the other one it has taken us about ten years and has not concluded that one as yet.”

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