Less than one day after the BNTU put their strike action on pause after 11 days of being out of the classrooms, there is concern about possibility of teacher’s pay being docked for the days absent from school.


The B.N.T.U. has pledged to stand up for its teachers on this point, but the decision lies in the hands of school managements. During the BNTU press conference yesterday national President Luke Palacio made an urgent appeal to school managers to consider the facts of why they walked off the job and reiterated that the teachers will make up the time lost.


Screen_Shot_2016-10-19_at_8.02.43_PMLuke Palacio – President Belize National Teacher’s Union


“In 2005 the ruling of the Chief Justice was that the government cannot instruct management to deduct for strike action, we hope that those manager will understand that these teachers who were out on strike were striking for good governance, they were striking for Belize, they as General Managers will also benefit from good governance agenda we were able to foster as a result of what has happened, our teachers are prepared to make up the time we are appealing to those managers kindly give the teachers their salary at the end of the month because they were not doing anything illegal, they are standing up for Belize, they were contributing to national development which is one of the things our teachers are expected to do every day we need to have our children learn, we need to have our parents understand that we must love this country and if we love this country we must keep on fighting for what we believe will make our country a better country not only for today but for generations to come.”


But it seems that the Ministry of Education is paying no heed to the call made by the BNTU as yesterday the ministry, through the Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, issued a memorandum informing general managers of government and grant-aided schools that salaries will be withheld for striking teachers of government and government-aided schools.


According to the document, school managers have already been asked to submit the required information on attendance of teachers and on school closures during the strike in order for the necessary adjustments to governments’ contribution to be made.


In a press briefing held this afternoon by officials from the Ministry of Education, Chief Education officer, Carol Babb and CEO in the Ministry of Education explained GOB’s basis at arriving to this decision.


Carol Babb- Chief Education Officer


“The government of Belize as you know is the one that makes contributions to the grand aided and the grand aided schools and the government is basing this decision on the fact that we give salaries base on services rendered, the teachers were warned that if they chose to strike there will be consequences and we are withholding salaries because services were not delivered by those teachers who chose to strike.  It is not all teachers but if you look at 102 it states that during a strike is the responsibility of the managing authority to keep a record of teachers who are participating in the strike so only those teachers who participated in the strike will be affected.”


David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Education


“Government is paying service and if the service is not rendered then we have the right to not pay for it and I think that was established in the ruling #85 from 2005 where this issue arose first.”


Luke Palacio – President Belize National Teacher’s Union


“Rule 102 is clear, you go on strike you may lose salary, we are saying to the management there was a ruling and I remember on an appearance on a morning show one of the General Managers made it clear, in 2005 the ruling of the Chief Justice was that the government cannot instruct management to deduct for strike actions we hope that those managers will understand that these teachers who were out on strike were striking for good governance, they were striking for Belize they as general manager will also benefit from whatever good governance agenda we are able to foster as a result of what has happened our teachers are prepared to make up the time we are appealing to those managers kindly give the teachers their salary at the end of the month because they were not doing anything illegal, they are standing up for Belize, they were contributing to national development which is one of the things our teachers are expected to do every day.”


Although the Ministry set a deadline for all attendance records of teachers for all schools to be submitted today before nine in the morning, at the time of the press conference not all information had been received which officials specified will likely result in a delay of salaries.

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