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November 16
13:33 2018
THE REPORTER: News Staff, - 

Teachers from the Orange Walk ITVET this week staged a two-day sit-out starting on Tuesday, culminating with an emergency meeting late Thursday evening between school officials and teachers following a dispute related to teacher salaries. A spokesperson for the teachers said the meeting was positive, however teachers are awaiting a further response before deciding to return to classes.

According to Luis Ramos, spokesperson for the OW ITVET teachers, the problems over salaries have been a recurring issue and all teachers on staff have been affected at some point. Ramos says the 16 teachers on staff staged a two-day sit out which impacted the over 300 students registered at the school.

Ramos did not elaborate on the specifics of the dispute over salaries other than to say that payments have been slow in reaching the teachers. Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) President Elena Smith, however, told the Reporter that in some instances teachers have not received their salaries for a span between 3 and 6 months. She also said that the teachers had been bumped from the government’s Smartstream payment system.

Ramos added that the teachers at the Orange Walk ITVET, and many teachers at other vocational institutions across the country, believe that it is time to change their status as contract officers to permanent teachers, which they claim would alleviate many of the issues they currently face regarding salaries. The teachers are adamant regarding their stance and Ramos asserted that the teachers intend to sustain their industrial action until they feel their concerns have been suitably addressed.

Ramos said the teachers believed the meeting on Thursday was promising but said teachers were still awaiting word from school officials on what their decision would be. He said the teachers are aware that further discussions on the matter will need to be held but said teachers will not be returning to class until they hear from school officials on Friday.
The BNTU was represented at the meeting to show support for and solidarity with the teachers at the Orange Walk ITVET.

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