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  • Speaker Of The House Signs MOU With FOPREL And SICA

    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:44
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    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:46
  • 224 Farmers Graduate From Farmers Field School

    Friday, 07 September 2018 03:09

The Belize National Teachers Union is preparing for strike action against the Government if its eight demands are not met which includes the removal of Minister Godwin Hulse as Minister of Police and Immigration. This announcement was made after a meeting between PM and BNTU. Yesterday the president of BNTU Orange Walk, Otilio Munoz, met with its membership, where teachers were informed of the current situation and asked to participate in a one-day closure of school on October third which is next week Monday, a request which was met with open arms, says Munoz.


Screen_Shot_2016-09-27_at_8.02.45_PMOtilio Munoz – President BNTU Orange Walk Branch


“There is a plan of action by the BNTU, a strike action and I think it was very vital for the general membership what is happening and we had to report on the response to the Prime Minister as it pertains to the eight proposals that we placed on the table for negotiations so I think it was important for us to go back to the members and indicate to them the responses and from there to actually get a feedback from them and as it pertains to the plan of industrial action and what is their intake.  There was a great amount of teachers present yesterday I would say roughly about 190 teachers and all of them were there with the same sentiment and they will be part of the industrial action on Monday and bearing in mind that there were some who were not present but I think there are still onboard with us because based on the last meeting I had with them I had over 300 of them that gave us the mandate of strike action but I think that as an organization we do not operate that way we always believe that we need to give time for dialogue and meet with the Prime Minister and try to get from him any response but then I believe that as an organization we look at a strike or an industrial action as an ultimatum when things cannot be done and we are not getting favorable responses so it was important to talk to them like that but the sentiment as I said again it that they will be part of it on Monday.”

 

Eleven years ago, in 2005, the Belize National Teachers Union went on a week-long strike in a campaign against the then government on the economic issues at that time, this time around Munoz believes that a larger percentage of the membership will support industrial action, as a larger support base is expected from the high school teachers.


Otilio Munoz – President BNTU Orange Walk Branch


“In terms of percentage for the primary schools I believe that when I divided the primary and the secondary schools at the primary schools usually the records show that according to 2005 because that was when we had a long industrial action that lasted for two weeks and I was part of it and from the primary schools we had about 75% of the entire schools being closed and the high schools was about 50% but I think that by this time the high schools teachers are onboard with us because they have realized that there are issues that is affecting them; we have for example the proposal 22 which is a proposal that we are negotiating with the government and basically what the proposal 22 is, is that we are looking at teachers who are in the 70/30’s  payment, you know that there are some high schools that pay 70/30 ; 70% of their salary comes from the government and 30% from the institution, we have for example Muffles High School, we have Bishop Martin, we have New Hope High School so these high schools are 70/30 and whenever a teacher retires then the only thing that the teachers gets is the 70%  from government but the 30% they don’t get because of reasons that the high school doesn’t have any money and so we believe that these teachers of these high schools prepare students for one reason to take the CXC exams just like the government high schools which are fully paid by the government and are also when they retire they get their full pension from government so I think that this is not fair for those teachers who are in the 70/30 high schools so we are trying to negotiate with the government that it is time that it should be across the board that all teachers in high schools should be paid their full pension and that is the one we are emphasizing and I think that this movement of this proposal have made teachers of the high schools to join in because we are fighting for them, we are fighting for their cause.”


But the teachers are receiving much criticism from the ruling party for deciding to take industrial action, being accused of not acting in the best interest of the children of our country, something which Munoz says is completely misleading. Teachers are simply acting in accordance with what they teach inside the classroom, to stand up against wrong doings.

 

Otilio Munoz – President BNTU Orange Walk Branch


“2005 it was the PUP in government that was in and we had the UDP that was with us together with the BNTU was fighting then and intimidation and things will always happen, it is an norm in Belize because that is the way how we operate and we cannot get rid of it and this political thing will always be present and this is our country and this is what happens around us but I want to make it clear that the BNTU action we had never had any political thing against any government we deal with the issues we don’t deal with any political leader and want to make it absolutely clear as well that BNTU has never and will never have in our agenda that we need to through down the government we are not doing that and that is not our job, what we are dealing is with issues that need to be corrected by the government we did that in 2005 and we are doing it again in 2016.  I strongly believe learning doesn’t only takes place in a classroom, learning can also be taken out, as an educator you are teaching children to stand up for what is right that you need to stand up against anything that is wrong and if you area teaching these values in our schools it is ironic to be having teachers not standing up when they should be standing up and these are issues that affect every single one of us, the teachers go beyond the call of duty, the teachers are there for the children and I know that there are some parents that will stand up because we are the ones who cater for their children when mom and dad doesn’t have enough money to feed their children send them to school without breakfast a teacher cannot perform because that child is hungry and we have to find to cater for them that is our responsibility.”


While COLA and the BSCFA have pledged their support to BNTU, the Belize Workers Union have remained quite so far. Today when we contacted President of the BWU, Ramior Gongora, we were informed that the executive is expected to meet sometime this week to decide on an official stand on the matter.

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