The Belize National Teachers Union is in its sixth day of industrial action as negotiations over an overdue salary adjustment and good governance and reform issues have taken the national stage. While the teachers’ efforts have been effective in the closure of a majority of schools and getting parents not to send their children to school, and the Government’s efforts to denigrate the Union have gotten very little public empathy, the BNTU and teachers have gotten major support from the regional Union body known as the Caribbean Union of Teachers.
The CUT wrote Prime Minister Dean Barrow yesterday, indicating that their body has been following the current impasse and that it stands in solidarity with the BNTU.
The CUT writes [quote] “The BNTU for the past eight years has been patient with the authorities in order to ensure that the Collective Bargaining process is preserved. The actions of the Government Negotiating Team demonstrate a lack of respect for this internationally accepted principle. Unnecessarily delaying a process that would regulate the working relationship between Teachers and their employer is unacceptable” [end quote].
The CUT also addressed the threats from the Ministry of Education that teachers could face pay cuts and even replacement if the strike continues. It states [quote] “the CUT firmly believes that no negotiating process and/or resulting Collective Agreement should threaten the Employment Status, Service Benefits of Rights of employees” [end quote].
In its release, the regional Union body for teachers warns the Prime Minister that if his Government denies a salary adjustment for the teachers in this economically trying time, then his administration is making workers worse off.
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