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November 02
05:38 2018

REPORTER: News Staff, –

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has decided to hold a demonstration at the National Assembly, following a series of increasingly contentious negotiations with the Ministry of Education over two major issues affecting teachers.

The demonstration is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 7. The BNTU held a press conference at its Belize City headquarters on Wednesday, to explain that the Union feels the MoE has not been negotiating in good faith with respect to the change in the amount of schools in remote communities receiving hardship allowance, and with its Proposal 22, which speaks to the Ministry paying 100 percent of benefits to teachers and support staff of grant-aided secondary schools.

BNTU President Elena Smith chaired the meeting, flanked by the Union’s National Secretary Ruth Shoman, immediate past President Luke Palacio and the entire Council of Management. The Union addressed specifically comments that the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, made at a press conference this week, where he said that the BNTU never objected to the new criteria for schools receiving hardship allowance.


The BNTU also called Faber out on comments that he made saying that the Union is holding up the completion of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and that Proposal 22 is no longer an issue to be discussed. The Union claims that the Ministry has disrespected its representatives by changing the established negotiation protocol for meeting with the Minister and his officials, and telling the Union to take its concerns to the District Education Managers. “…the BNTU will demonstrate once more the importance of unity, the importance of coming together for the benefit of those that are being treated unjust and unfairly. So, on November 7th the BNTU will gather in Belmopan to make their voices heard once more,” Shoman said.

Smith emphasized that the demonstration is only the beginning of the BNTU’s actions and that the Union is prepared to escalate those efforts if the need arises. She noted that the Union is prepared to approach other unions that form a part of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, for support in those efforts to escalate its response to what the organization views as continued disrespect by the Minister of Education.

“We are saying that the Minister outright lied about the BNTU and he must make that correction,” Smith said, producing minutes from the last meeting the Union had with GOB as proof that the Union did object on the issue of the new criteria for hardship allowance. “…they are asking for a response that we must send our concerns or feedback to those persons. So, we are going to be sending our response.”

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