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Screen_Shot_2016-09-08_at_8.20.31_PMCould the Belize National Teacher’s Union be preparing for industrial action? That’s the general sentiment from teachers around the country and the action supported by a majority of Union members at emergency meetings held simultaneously by all branches today. The teachers are upset that the Barrow Administration has not been able to follow through with a promised 3% salary increase which was due to them since July of this year.


Here in the Orange Walk District, over 300 teachers walked out of their classrooms to attend today’s meeting this afternoon at the Gala Lounge. The Orange Walk BNTU members had previously rejected the Government’s proposal to delay the salary increase until next year. And today, the militancy continued when the majority of members agreed that if the Government fails to meet their promise, they will take action.


Otilio Munoz – President Belize National Teacher’s Union Orange Walk Branch


“We have heard from the Prime Minister asking for a deferral, we do not accepted the deferral that is the BNTU’s position and what will be done if the Prime Minister says well if they don’t accept the deferral well this will happen or I do not want to hear anything then because of that then we had to have something in hand that our and we can say well ok you are saying this then let me tell you that yesterday which is today my members came out here without your permission and this is what they had to say.”

Reporter

“Are you able to say, what are those actions that the Orange Walk BNTU is supportive of?”

Otilio Munoz – President Belize National Teacher’s Union Orange Walk Branch

“Well, we are looking at industrial action, which is not something that I cannot hide, it is an industrial action. They are not taking it lightly, they are mad at the situation, they are mad at what government is doing but I think the most important thing that they are mad at is the sacrifice that the Prime Minister is asking from them when there is no sacrifice in return when it comes from the government side so that is what makes the situation very difficult for them to accept because then; you are asking me to accept the deferral but yet ministers of government continue to live their lifestyle they are not sacrificing anything, how is it that the Prime Minister can be coming to the teachers and the Public Servants and asking them for sacrifice when they are not sacrificing anything.”

We can report today that at least four other branches, that is, Dangriga, Toledo, Belize City and Cayo branches have supported industrial action. We attempted to find out what decision was taken by the Corozal BNTU but were not successful.

So what happens next? Well, we have learnt that the Union’s National President Luke Palacio will meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow tomorrow to relay the position of his members. Political pundits are predicting that the Prime Minister will be forced to strike a compromise to avoid any more political headaches for his administration.

The BNTU will also hold a Council of Management meeting this Saturday to discuss the recommendations and decide which specific course of action will be taken and by when.

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