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#460741 - 03/22/13 09:13 AM Teachers will get increase when it is affordable
Marty Offline
It’s been under the radar and off the public scope lately, pushed to the backburner while issues like the super-bond restructuring, the budget presentation and the referendum dominate the spotlight. But make no mistake, the salary adjustment haggling between government and the unions is far from settled. Just for some background, on February first government issued a proposal to the unions stating, in summary, that if government’s revenue grew in 2014 over 2013, then teachers and public officers would receive a percentage of that growth, but the adjustment would not be more than ten percent. There would be no payment in 2013, and if revenue did not grow, there would be none in 2014 either. The negotiating team, with representation from the BNTU, PSU and APSSM took that proposal to the wider membership but although union leaders imposed a media blackout during that phase, reliable and widespread reports confirmed that the reception to the proposal was not exactly joyous. And after that round of consultations, the negotiating team was handed the mandate to return to GOB with a counterproposal. That counterproposal has two primary demands that payment is made in 2013 and not 2014…and that there be a floor on payment, meaning that teachers and public officers would not get more than ten percent, but not less than five percent. Government didn’t take long to respond to that counterproposal. News Five understands that GOB’s position now is that an agreement was reached back on February first, and what the unions are now requesting is not in conformity with the agreement – end of story. In the House today, the Minister John Saldivar said on cue, saying the increase will be given when it is affordable. So where does that put the negotiations? Well, we understand that another formal meeting between the negotiating team and the Prime Minister is set for April fifth. We don’t know if there will be any cutting of birthday cakes on the agenda but we’ll keep you posted.

Channel 5

#461617 - 04/04/13 08:50 AM Re: Teachers will get increase when it is affordable [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BNTU Holds Convention, Presses PM

The Belize National Teachers' Union is holding its 43rdannual convention. The two-day event is being held in Belmopan at the UB Gymnasium and allows all ten branches of the union to come together and discuss concerns and issues affecting teachers.

7news stopped in today and spoke with the president of the BNTU - who discussed their upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister to negotiate salary adjustment.

Luke Palacio - President, BNTU
"The convention is held every year, usually the Wednesday and Thursday after the Easter a week and it is the highest authority of the Belize National Teachers Union, where all 10 branches of the union come together at a venue that is usually agreed upon like a year before. At that convention, we get the minutes of the previous convention. We get the reports from the president, and the national treasurer; the branch officers also give their report and the executive secretary. Those are then discussed with members; concerns, issues, questions, all of those matters are addressed. The convention also gets resolution from its members as to what are some of the things they would like the union to undertake in the ensuing year, as it relates to anything affecting the teaching profession, the education system and that sort of thing. We are usually welcomed by the Mayor of the City, and so this morning Mayor Simeon Lopez welcomed us to the City of Belmopan. Our guest speaker was the U.S ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Vinai Thumalapally and they gave some very thought provoking - spoke to some very thought provoking issues that our teacher no doubt will bear in mind for a long time to come."

Monica Bodden
"Can you speak to us about some of these issues?"

Luke Palacio
"Well one of the issue of course I raised has to do; is that the teachers has to do in assist in ensuring that our children, our youngsters in particular, be thought to respect our National Anthem, and our National Symbols. Mayor Lopez specifically spoke to the way the National Anthem is sung. He spoke also to civic pride that our students need to be taught civic pride and love of country in general. The Ambassador spoke basically to education, that it needs to have some sort of technological skills be thorough to our students as well, so that they can develop certain life skills that they may be able to use when they're through with their education. He spoke to the suggestion of moving the compulsory school age to 16 as opposed to 14, and that education is everybody's business and that we should not only blame one party but there should be calibration with all the party concerns; the governments, the managements, the union, the teachers, the parents, so basically those were some of the areas that they spoke to this morning. The salary adjustment is an issue that the BNTU discussed shortly with its membership, as a part of the president report. We've said it in the media and we continue to say it, that we intend to negotiate in good faith as long as the Government comes clean with us. We have indicated in certain sections of the media that we expect that on Friday, April 5, when we meet with the Prime Minister, the counter proposal that the 3 Unions have presented to him, will form a part of the agenda for that meeting. If the Prime Minister refuses to put that on the agenda then our intentions - well at least BNTU mandate from its council of management is that we walk out of the meeting. So, that's where we are at this point."

This year's annual teacher's convention is celebrated under the theme "BNTU, Overcoming Challenges, Embracing Opportunities in Education. The Prime Minister will be meeting with the National Teachers Union on Friday to discuss their salary adjustment.

Channel 7

#461754 - 04/05/13 09:13 AM Re: Teachers will get increase when it is affordable [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

43rd annual B.N.T.U. Convention

The forty-third annual convention of the Belize National Teachers Union concluded today in the capital where in late January, by the thousands teachers showed their muscle in respect of a long overdue salary adjustment. The two-day event was held under the theme, “B.N.T.U., Overcoming Challenges, Embracing Opportunities in Education” and over two hundred teachers from all ten branches of the union came together to discuss concerns and issues affecting their profession.  Among the myriad of issues dealt with was Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute; the current executive also received the endorsement from the floor.  News Five spoke with first vice president of the B.N.T.U., Adelaida Guerra on the progress of the convention.

Adelaida Guerra, 1stVice President, B.N.T.U.

Adelaida Guerra

“We have our annual convention usually at this time after Easter vacation. We have a two day convention—it started yesterday and today is the final day. We still have business sessions to do, which has to do with the reading of reports. We have resolutions that are going to be taken today. I am not sure how many resolutions we have right now. We also have the endorsement of officers of the B.N.T.U. We were supposed to have elections, but we didn’t have any challengers for the four posts, so basically it is four people who are at the post right now who will be endorsed so that will happen later on. Something was brought up about the collective bargaining agreement but that will also be discussed later on today. And the question and answer section which is very important for our teachers where they will put in their questions and we have to provide them with the best answers that we have. So that will come up later on today too.  Day two we had a panel discussion on the ICJ. We had three panelists basically giving their perspective on the ICJ. It is not telling our teachers to vote yes or no, but just to educate them and then they are going to make their decision when the time comes.”

Channel 5

#461842 - 04/06/13 09:18 AM Re: Teachers will get increase when it is affordable [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Talks Between PM And Unions Lubricated By Prospect Of Oil

Teachers and Public Service Union Leaders met with the Prime Minister at his office in Belmopan today - but this time there was no lunchtime press briefing, or birthday singing for Teachers Union Senior Advisor George Frazer. And coming out of the meeting, the unions had no comment - saying they won't speak to the press at this time - and will only do so after they hold discussions with their councils of management and their memberships.

So, nothing is confirmed but according to our sources neither side budged: the unions aired out their full counter-proposal, while the Government side maintained that there can be no floor on a proposed increase, nor can there be any increase given this year.

The meeting - we are told - was cordial but ended with no agreement, as the unions have to go back to their memberships. But they do have something to go back with - and that is oil. As we understand it, the prospect of a potential commercial oil find factored significantly into the discussions. If there is incremental revenue from an oil find and it leads to a revenue surplus - the teachers and public officers stand to get 50% of that incremental revenue towards a raise.

But that would be for the next financial year - as this financial year is currently not up for discussion. The meeting finished on the understanding that another will be held once more is known about the encouraging oil show in the Orange Walk District. In the interim, a joint committee between the government and the unions will be established to look at ways Government can enhance revenue collection.

Government was represented principally by the Prime Minister along with Ministers Faber, Hulse and Gibson while the unions were represented by Presidents of the PSU, and BNTU Mervyn Blades and Luke Palacio along with past president of the APSSM, George Myvette.

Channel 7


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