Last week we aired interviews with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Education Patrick Faber in which they both outlined their reasons for proposing that a salary increase for public officers and teachers, which was due since July of this year, be delayed for a year.


The Government is claiming that it has had to use its revenues for Hurricane Relief, following the damages sustained from Hurricane Earl two weeks ago. As a result, they have asked teachers and public officers to wait for the agreed on salary increase until next year. Well, the idea isn’t really sitting well with teachers and their Belize National Teachers Union. Today, the Orange Walk branch met at the La Inmaculada School auditorium here in Orange Walk Town to discuss the Government’s request and arrive at a position. According to the Union President,   Otilio Munoz, the Government’s proposal is just not acceptable.


Screen_Shot_2016-08-22_at_6.41.21_PMOtilio Munoz – Union President Orange Walk Branch


“A decision was made by the members and the decision was a resounding no to the deferral of one year requested by the Prime Minister of Belize.”


Reporter


“What are some of the reasons that led of this decision made today?”


Otilio Munoz – Union President Orange Walk Branch


“Well, the reasons are many and I can recall some of them that are; one that it has been signed prior to hurricane Earl, before hurricane Earl came it was already signed so that means that the monies was allotted for that specific reason and another reason that they brought out is that they believe that the government is very irresponsible because as a responsible government they should always have the resources in case of a natural disaster come to Belize, they should have an amount allotted to be used for people if any hurricane would come to Belize and the another one is that they believe that the government will always have excuses as to if we wait for the deferral then next year there will be another reason we have to do this again or we can’t do this again so they believe that they don’t want that so they did not accepted as is so they did not accepted the deferral for one year and that was it.”

 

Munoz indicated that the Union members view Government’s proposal as very unreasonable. He said that instead of withholding teacher’s much-deserved salary increases, the Government should look at its management of finances and cut unnecessary spending.


Otilio Munoz – Union President Orange Walk Branch


“We presented to the Prime Minister that there are large number of contract officers and other things that we presented to the Prime Minister is that you are hiring new minister, we have two already that have been Senators and now Ministers and we will have one more that will come on board as well, so these are the things that we brought to his attention and it was not really considered and he focused on that it is a sacrifice and because it is a sacrifice there shouldn’t be any compensation for sacrificing yourself so that is the point that the members didn’t totally accepted and so they are asking for their 3%.”


Similar Union meetings are being held by all Union branches. Based on the responses, the BNTU will take an official position and present it to the Prime Minister. If that position is overlooked and the Government proceeds with the salary delay, the BNTU will return to its members to consider what action it should take.

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