The Public Service Union has come under criticism lately for their role in the negotiations over the 3% salary deferral with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The delay in the payment proposed by the Government was rejected by the BNTU, but supported by the PSU and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. The disagreement over whether or not to defer the salary adjustment has created a division among the three groups, and it is believed that it is the reason why the PSU has not shown much solidarity with the BNTU. Well, in an effort to heal those wounds, the PSU has commenced a national consultation tour for members to decide the PSU’s next move. This morning we met PSU President Eldred Neal in Corozal Town where, despite it being his birthday, he was engaged with his membership.

 

Screen_Shot_2016-10-05_at_8.09.21_PMEldred Neal - President Public Service Union


“The purpose is for me is just for to get to my membership on to what is occurring and I know that there are a lot of issues that are out there as it relates to the present action being made by the BNTU and a number of folks have already tarnishing the pace in which we have been moving and I  am just saying is that we are now moving the ball nonetheless and in fact we are doing consultation with the membership so that we can at least get a feedback from where they are, we know for a fact that the national issues are there and today’s meeting give us a chance for me to hear from them directly where they are in terms of the national issues.”


Reporter


“Is this meeting specifically on the BNTU position?”


Eldred Neal - President Public Service Union


“No  this meeting is specifically on the negotiations and the point where we are at, BNTU action as everyone is fully abreast of it was fully sighted and in fact the call for solidarity was made by membership and they were trying to bring clarity on the different positions in which they presented in terms of support, we do feel that our sister Union is out there and we are supportive on a number of the national issues that are there because PSU is aware of the national issues and PSU is doing that in terms of his rounds we are getting that feedback and we are getting the sentiments of our membership and of course their directives so that we can determine to what extent do we lend our solidarity.”

 

The meeting is Corozal Town was cordial and from all indications gave the President a clear mandate. We can’t say the same for his meeting in Belize City held yesterday, however, as video footage of the meeting caught by 7News showed a body of disgruntled membership. We asked Neal what’s up with that, and he said the optics of the meeting was a bit misleading.


On belize city meeting/not at industrial action stage


Eldred Neal - President Public Service Union


“It was a lively spirited meeting, emotion were worn on shoulders of s few individuals but no matter was brought up to the extent that folks would have left the room feeling a bit disgruntled, I must say I was extremely tired as I am today and maybe my interview may have come off suggesting that we are not unified or I was bombarded but that was not the case. As you would have seen here in Corozal and I am sorry in Belize City that folks over spent their time and media was rushing off to get to news break so that was what occurred no one was given an opportunity to speak but I will tell you the emotions are out there, the information out there is queued to a certain extent, the national issues are obvious PSU members are feeling it, they want to see better governance we are doing these rounds and we are helping ourselves in getting to that position, allow me to say industrial action is not being contemplated, these are national issues and we are not at that position as yet, if BNTU is there, I reiterate that is there positon, that is a part of their mandate it is not one for us.”


And while we had the busy PSU President we asked him about the negotiations over the 3% salary deferral. Yes the PSU and APSSM have supported it, but the BNTU hasn’t and that has put a strain on the talks with the Prime Minister. The PM has complained bitterly about the BNTU going off the tracks and has called on the Unions to come together to sign off on a final agreement. So where does the PSU stand on the deferral considering the BNTU’s move? Well, Neal told us the PSU would like to see all the parties around the table and with one conclusion.


Eldred Neal - President Public Service Union


“We have gone into negotiations collectively, our response was disjointed and we urge as the three Presidents and I say I urge as the president to be part of any group that would have sent a disjointed response, all this that is now been played out nationally should not have occurred this was supposed to be done in the negotiating room before we had been given the Prime Minister his response, folks it is time that we write that error and how is that done by coming back to the table as we will and in fact if we have a disjointed position it cannot be that one individual or two individual versus one individual will have their way we must meet amicable grounds, we must level the playing field in such a way that we come off as all winner in this negotiations because in reality we all represent public servants out there and we must look at every angle so that whatever the position is determined is for the betterment of all and not one or all and not two and I want to be on record for that, negotiations is still ongoing the door aren’t close and I assure you PSU is whole heartedly fully up to the negotiating and the negotiation team , we want the best results, we want a joint Union response and I am hoping that we can come to that position regardless of our stands as it relates presently on the national issues.”


A release from the Cabinet this week called on the three parties to return to the negotiating table, but the BNTU has been exclusively on strike mode.

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