The Public Service Union went on strike today - and it affected government offices across the country - but it didn't shut them down, and many departments reported conducting business more or less as usual.

Still, hundreds of public officers did walk off the job, and many of them covered in Belize City, where they joined forces with the BNTU, the Nurses Association, to march through the streets of Belize City in their most impressive showing yet.

The groups split into two - one starting at Memorial Park and another at the Yaborough field. Courtney Menzies travelled alongside the first group and has this story.

The yellow and green shirts that Belizeans have now become accustomed to seeing were out in full force this morning. They began with a church service before taking to the streets.

As the PSU entered its first official day of strike action, and the BNTU its ninth, the groups split into two.

One of the groups launched off from Memorial Park and circled around Newton Barracks before returning to the park and amalgamating with the late comers. They then took off again - this time heading for the House of Culture and back to the park.

Before the start of the protest, we spoke with two union leaders. BNTU president Elena Smith explained their expectations as they prepared to head into their afternoon meeting with the government.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU
"Well, we expect that the government's side is going to come and presenting some positions to us, whether it's going to be favorable or not, we are not sure yet, because remember whatever they bring to us we have to take back to our membership. So until our membership says yes then we can say if it's favorable."

But they are confident that their protests over the past few weeks have forced the government's hand to yield to some of the union's demands.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU
"I am sure that our actions thus far has probably pushed them to work a bit faster in terms of the draft whistleblowers act and so while they might not concede that we believe that our actions thus far and the time that we have been out has caused them to work a bit faster in presenting those draft to us and we believe that is continue with a bit more pressure then we will be able to get those other draft legislation long before the 8 months have proposed to us in those meetings."

"Whenever we go into negotiations, you have your list of demands so you know what it is are your priority areas if you will so we are able to move when we get to certain points. We are not able to tell you this at this point in time but there are stages that we have set out as we go through negotiation."

And while they are hoping the good governance legislation will be fast forwarded, they are also seeking some type of compensation for the salary cuts that will go through.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU
"The government has not proposed anything in terms of compensation, we want to make that very clear, what they have done is provide us with some carrots. So this is what we are going to be offering, we can offer you this, we can give you four hour less work week, we can talk to the banks so it can have a little less impact on what has happened to you so those are the things that they have presented to us but in terms of saying to us listen, in place of this cut that we will do, we are going to be giving you a promissory note that is going to be worth so much by this time, we are going to be giving you so much land whether it a plot an acre whatever it is, we have not gotten those details. Those have been mentioned on our end, we have asked them about those things but we have not gotten back from them a response saying Cabinet has agree so we will give you x, y, z."

And president of the APSSM, whose union was also forced to wait the 21 days before striking, echoed that they cannot give up a portion of their pay for nothing in return.

Sharon Frazer, President, APSSM
"We are expecting for the best that in fact government would have heard, we made it clear what it is that we're asking for, we've always wanted the public to understand that while it is the ten percent means a lot to us it's not just about the ten percent, there are many other issues - we understand that sacrifices need to be made and we've never said we are not prepared to sacrificed what we've said, if I am going to sacrifice, there are certain things that have to be in place, it can't be that I am making the sacrifice by giving up a portion of my property, so as to be given to someone else who has not put in the time and in fact those good governance measures that we've been asking for years."

Smith expects that the discussions with the government will extend for a number of days.

And while they talk inside at the house of culture, the protestors outside kept the pressure on with their presence.

Meetings continued late into the evening - right up to newstime.

According to Smith, there were approximately 600-700 BNTU members protesting today. As for the PSU, their numbers are uncertain at this point.

What Does the Public Strike Really Mean on the Ground?

And so what does PSU's strike entail? Striking teachers are putting little to no effort to attend online classes and have stopped going to physical classes altogether. But, many teachers remain on the job - though precise numbers are hard to come by.

And, as we told you top, government offices were still open today - meaning that not every public officer is on strike - most likely far from at - there are, after all, over 15 thousand of them.

So what does the public strike really mean on the ground? We asked the APSSM president Sharon Frazer more about their first day of strike action.

Sharon Frazer, President, APSSM
"I cannot tell you that all the government offices is closed because it's not every member of the public service is a member of the PSU, not that they don't have a right, so even if they're not members of PSU, they still have a right to show solidarity, to come out, to participate, to let the world and Belize know what they're position is in relation to what it is that we're asking for."

Channel 7