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The national strike by the Belize National Teachers Union continued today as leaders of the Union met with the Prime Minister in Belize City. But this was not a one-to-one meeting. You would recall that the last one held last Thursday ended in a stalemate. Today’s meeting also included leaders from the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and issue was reaching a final agreement on the Government’s proposal for a salary deferral. The PM has not been able to convince the BNTU to support it, but today he made a new proposal which he believes could achieve that, The PM explained.


Screen_Shot_2016-10-17_at_8.03.53_PMRt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“In return for what would then be unanimous acceptance of the deferral of the 3% adjustment until next year April at that time government will also pay a 5% interest rate on the sum differed which I think should basically come up to something like $600,000.00 to $700,000.00 which would then be prorated among the recipients of the differed salary adjustment.  With respect to the Social Security Expanded Coverage which I’ve signal from before I absolutely support that would have to come about by way an amendment to section 13 of the Social Security Act the Unions are proposed in forming a working group to go over the sort of language that would give what we all want but also contains safeguard restriction against abuse.”


There was some controversy over the Prime Minister’ decision to change the date of the meeting, which was initially set for today but moved to Wednesday. But the BNTU has been planning a national demonstration on that day, and last minute the PM switched back to today. We asked him what was behind this shifting of meeting date.


Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“Because I received a communication from a Good Samaritan yesterday that if I move up the meeting there was a likelihood that we could reach agreement and naturally the quicker we can end the strike the better, while I cannot presume as to the outcome of the council of management meeting this afternoon my proposals did seem to meet with the qualified approval if I could frame it like that of those that were present but these people have to go back to their principals and so I will leave it there.”


There was no word from the BNTU whether or not they would accept the PM’s new offer. They held an emergency Council of Management meeting following the one with the PM, and the only outcome was that they would hold branch meetings tomorrow to decide.

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