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The Belize National Teachers Union has been in a constant tug and war with the Ministry of Education since their eleven day strike back in October of last year on whether their salary will be deducted for those days teachers were out of class.  The total amount in salaries amounts to over three million dollars but today the BNTU can finally breathe a sigh of relief as there will be no deduction.

On December 16th, the Honorable Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin gave the BNTU and the Ministry 45 days to reach an agreement via mediation. On January 16th the two parties met with mediator George Swift and reached an agreement. The sides reported back to the Chief Justice today and BNTU president Luke Palacio shared the outcome.


Screen_Shot_2017-02-21_at_7.55.14_PMPresident Luke Palacio – Belize national Teachers’ Union

“We have agreed to both parties that and I need to say this even before we go on that we had insisted during the strike that we were prepared to make up the time it was just the manner in which the ministry acted that pushed us if you will to decide that we are not going to with that and we came to court, we have now agreed that we all going to make up those days as an order of the court based on our mediation that we are going to give back six full days of classes, the first three will be don on the first three days of the Easter break and the second three will be on the first three days of our July vacation period, the ministry has agreed with our position that they should not dock our salaries and that is now a given our salaries will not be docked, the ministry has abandoned that portion based on our agreement at the mediation and so basically that is where we stand at this time.”

Though the process was long and tedious Palacio does not believe the standoff has caused irreparable damage in the BNTU’s relationship with the Ministry.

President Luke Palacio – Belize national Teachers’ Union

“I don’t think so as a matter of fact we’ve been meeting with ministry, we’ve been to whatever boards or bodies we serve on jointly with the ministry of education, we have been at all their meetings and the relationship is cordial so I don’t think that there is any ill feeling, we trust again that when we raise issues that concern us and concern our teachers that again good judgement common sense will prevail and we discuss those matters before it get outs of hand.”

Chief Education Officer Dr. Carol Babb was not present in court this morning. The Ministry of Education was represented by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke while the BNTU was represented by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay.

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