There are pending discussions between the Belize National Teachers’ Union and the Minister of Education Patrick Faber about salary deductions for the teachers who participated in the 11 day of strike. The meeting to discuss these deductions, scheduled to be docked in the November pay check has been set for 11:30 tomorrow between the two parties. The BNTU’s Council of Management is set to meet before that meeting at 9:30 where they will decide if they will proceed with the meeting based on the conditions set by the Education Minister.

Screen_Shot_2016-10-27_at_8.00.54_PMLuke Palacio – President of the Belize Teacher’s Union

“Indeed the Minister had requested a meeting and there has been a number of exchanges via correspondences in which we have indicated to the minister that the council of management is the second highest authority of the BNTU and that any such meeting would have to be with members of our council and so yesterday in the media when he indicated that he had suggested or is recommending to the BNTU that having 25 persons at a meeting would be counterproductive we do not agree, in the past on about two occasions the minister had accommodated has had meetings with the entire membership of our council of management so we do not find favor with what he is recommending and tomorrow our council meets and that decision will be meet whether or not we will accede to his request to the composition he is proposing. We believe though that it is important that the teachers who were on strike be paid their salaries, they’ve said it over and over we articulated it even to management that the teachers are prepared to make up the time and so we are appealing to the better judgment of those in authority to try and adhere to that request.”

So is the BNTU being difficult as it relates to the conditions of the meeting not accepting 5 members to negotiate on behalf of the 25 council of management members? That question was posed to National President, Luke Palacio.


Luke Palacio – President of the Belize Teacher’s Union

“Clearly you don’t know who you are dealing with when dealing with the minister of education ad to a certain extend some of his operatives, the Prime Minister has meet with the entire council of management what is so wrong, what is so important what is so that Minister Farber wants to hide or what is it that he is trying to come with is he trying to come and strong hand the Union, our processes are democratic, our council of management is prepared to meet with the minister at least the invitation of the first was for us to meet at the ITVET.  When the minister wanted us to support the matter of the Special Permit that saw a number of our teachers who held provisional license that would have been expired or were already expired, he invited the entire council when he wanted us to look at amendments that they are currently recommending for the education rules of this country he invited the entire council, now you are affecting our members throughout the country you are going to get to deal with the bottom line pockets of these individuals who no doubt have expenses and you will cold heartedly write in a memo and instruct the managers that every penny that must be deducted be deducted in one month where is the faith intension we are not going to be blindly led in a meeting with the minister and his operatives to try and have our teachers continue to suffer under their plan that he has in mind or for us to try and believe that it is wrong to strike in this country.”

And while Minister Faber insists that the strike fund can be used to pay teachers, Palacio reiterated that it can’t and it won’t be used.

Luke Palacio – President of the Belize Teacher’s Union

“The minister does not run the BNTU, the minister cannot interpret the BNTU’s constitution on how he feels and  when he feels it fit, the BNTU constitution clearly states that the strike funds is to be used for mobilization, in the convention in Orange Walk a resolution was passed and the resolution reads that BNTU makes an effort to redefine the sue of the strike fund to cover for salaries when teachers goes to strike, redefining does not mean you are going to change it to do what the minister has interpret it to mean, the strike fund for the BNTU is a part of dues that our members pay, we pay one dollar a month towards the strike fund is not the entire twenty dollars that the teachers’ pay for the strike fund it is only a dollar a month so the buildup that we had in our strike fund to be able to carry out these things have been built up over many, many years, no doubt the minister is trying to do, propose or implement if he wants us to break that strike fund so that we cannot mobilize and that is the furthest thing that we are prepared to do at this point.”

Palacio added the moneys currently in the strike fund does not compare to the millions that are required to pay the teachers’ salaries. He stated that if the Ministry of Education proposes that the deduction be made in instalments that must be put in writing.

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