School In Jeopardy Again
The membership of the mighty BNTU seems to be voting to strike. The numbers we have seen from a number of districts show 90% of the membership or more voting to strike.
Branches of the BNTU are planning a number of public actions including protests, boycotts and picketing leading to a strike and school walkout starting Monday April 26th.
The BNTU President, senator Elena Smith says they are having emergency meetings with their membership all day today and tomorrow - and they will speak after that.
The PSU has already told its members to embark on a work to rule this week - and reports suggest that union could take direct action with a sick out tomorrow.
There are about 14,000 public officers and 6,00 teachers on government's payroll.Channel 7
=====================Is the B.N.T.U. Preparing to Strike?On Tuesday, you heard that the Public Service Union has put G.O.B. on notice of a trade dispute. Their work-to-rule campaign has already started as an initial form of industrial action. Well today, News Five confirmed that the Belize National Teachers Union ran a poll of its membership and the results are in. They too will strike. The normally accessible president Elena Smith has hunkered down with the leadership which has entered emergency planning mode. An internal memo leaked online suggests that the campaign will be very highly visible, with picketing in front of businesses and a boycott of gas stations which owe taxes. There will also be protests in front of the two telecommunication companies and a walkout of schools. The memo even speaks to demonstration on the highway, which they claim will be blocked for fifteen minutes. This course of action comes on the heels of government’s budget presentation that reflects a ten percent salary cut and increment freeze for three years. Was it all foreshadowed by Senator Smith back in March?
Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U. [File: March 11th, 2021]“As a union, we do not instruct our teachers; our members instruct us. And so as the president, I have no choice but to go to the mandate of the majority of our branches. So we have ten branches, once six branches say we will do X, we have no choice; the other four has to follow behind and do. And so we have agreed on a series of activities for right now and our teachers know and I guess people know that when they see those green shirts coming out, they know that something’s happening. So something might be happening.”Channel 5