And since we were on the subjects of finances and benefit to the Belizean people, News Five asked Reneau for an update on the salary adjustment issue. It’s been months since the protest by teachers and public officers who demanded an increase in salaries. It might have gone completely under the radar, since the proposed adjustment calculations depended on the oil industry which has yet to produce another feasible oil well. However, Reneau confirmed that the N.T.U.C.B. did continue with negotiations last week.
Dylan Reneau, President, N.T.U.C.B.
“We did have the meeting last week. I think it was a fruitful meeting. Certainly we are still moving ahead with the whole structure that we had initially started to talk about. We are going to complete the terms of reference of the two committees that we are going to set up to look at increasing revenues as well as making recommendations for cutting of expenditure—not necessarily cutting but reducing waste; to clarify that matter. So that is on the go. The FS is supposed to provide us with some estimates of what the salary adjustments will look like next year today actually. And after that the unions are going to have another meeting and move forward with a position from there. So that is all that I can say on the matter.”
My understanding back then—I am not sure if I missed a meeting in there somewhere—my understanding is that when the unions had gone back after the counter proposal, they had said forget 2014, we would like any money that we see in 2013. Has the unions moved back from that position [since] you are talking about next year?”
“Yes because what happened is that we had had some very candid discussions with government and we are willing to relax that position a little based on the financial situation.”
According to Reneau, they have gotten a briefing from Prime Minister Dean Barrow which gives them a reason for a positive outlook as far as oil is concerned.