The Belize National Teachers Union have been in negotiation with the Government for weeks now as it relates to the third and final portion of the salary increase that teachers are expected to receive. However, as a result of Hurricane Earl which made landfall in Belize two weeks ago, it was publicly announced that the increase would be delayed until further notice. During An interview with the media earlier today, the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber stated that in order to shed some light into the matter, the Prime Minister met with the BNTU on Monday for the continued discussion.


Screen_Shot_2016-08-17_at_8.14.43_PMHonorable Patrick Farber – Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education


“As far as I know the delay that is being sought by the Prime Minister to the Unions is not necessarily because of the economic situation in fact you will recall that the Unions and the financial secretary shook hands and signed off on what the payment would be and so that was intended to have been paid, enters Earl and of course you know the difficulty we saw there so the Prime Minister as a result of the devastation of hurricane Earl and the ministry of finance and the sider government having to find monies in the immediate aftermath of earl to deal with this situations has made that plea to the group of Unions that were in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, I am pretty sure that they met with the Prime minister and I think it is the BNTU that primarily indicated that they need to take the issue of the delay to their membership so that they can get back to the other Unions to give the Prime Minister an answer of their position as to whether or not they can accept the proposal put forward by the Prime Minister.”


Faber further stated that the collective bargaining meeting was held so as to bring closure to the current negotiations, and while the increase has already been decided upon, it is only a matter of time until it is issued to the teachers.

 

Honorable Patrick Farber – Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education


“I will tell you this that last week Friday, as lead minister in the Collective Bargaining negotiations outside of that salary issue that was taken directly to the minister of finance and the Prime Minister, that we had a very cordial meeting with all those who were involved in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the decision coming out of that meeting was to bring these rounds of negotiations to a close, we believe that the only issue that is outstanding of course to an extent not even to a full extent because we have already decided on what this last phase of the salary increase would be it is just a matter of making the payment and if the delay is to come then that will be another issues but it is already decided so in so far we have no other outstanding issue and so all who are there all parties agree that we would move to then bring a close this round of Collective Bargaining Negotiations and that in fact I would then move back to the Cabinet to seek permission to start a new engagement in terms of Collective Bargaining Agreement.”


And though the teachers were not quite pleased with the decision, the Government has agreed to review certain guidelines for the betterment of future decisions.


Honorable Patrick Farber – Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education


“I will point out that the Unions did raise that they were not one hundred percent satisfied, in fact there was a lot to be desired in terms of the process of engagement and so I promised a long with my colleagues who were there with me in the meeting from the Cabinet that we would review the process and that when we engage again look at who we can do thing differently so that it can be smoother sailing in terms of efficiency, we believe that the last process it took far too long, in terms of productivity and in terms of being amicable in the discussion because you know there need not be this kind of tensions between the Union and the government, between the official side and the staff side so all of that we have agreed to look at and we are looking forward to engaging the Unions once again for what is sure to be continuous discussion for development.”


Today Prime Minister Barrow also addressed the issue of teacher’s salary elaborating on the meeting held with the Union on Monday.


Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“No, we did had a meeting it is not just the teachers, it is with the heads of the three Unions (APSSM) or the three Organizations the PSU and the BNTU and I as I said shared the latest damage assessment report I had with them and indicated that we were asking as it appears we were entitled to at least to ask under the framework which I had for the Collective Bargaining Agreement it did says that if there was a change in material circumstances we could reopen the issue of the salary adjustment, so I’ve asked to, if they would be good enough to as part of the National Solidarity and the fact that government had to find all this money to try to help put things back together for a number of people including some of their members, if they would be good enough to agree to a deferral of the salary increase until next April start of the budget year, it is something that clearly they had to consult on and so I am awaiting their response.”

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