Joint Unions Not Always "Joint"
Cabinet received an update from the Ministerial Consultation Team on
their last meeting with the joint unions. They agreed to a letter of
clarification that should be sent to the Joint Unions to reinforce key
concessions from government including the 5-hour work-week reduction,
debt forbearance and for the National Trade Union Congress of Belize to
propose a nominee to serve on the National Bank's board of directors.
The letter also reminds that any public officer continuing to strike
after May 14 will not be paid any salary for any period on strike
But, still the unions have not been moved, and remain on strike. Last
night on UnCut, they reiterated their demands for good governance. But,
they also admitted that they don't always see eye-to-eye. Last week,
the first VP of the PSU explained his personal beliefs that it may be
time to step back.
But this is not the opinion of all the union leaders and while they
may disagree on certain things, APSSM president Sharon Frazer explained
that they must be selfless as a unit in order to succeed.
"Is there unanimity amongst the unions? Last week Friday I heard Dean
Flowers sounded like he was wavering. Is there unanimity amongst joint
Sharon Frazer - President, APSSM
"For the most part yes. There might be some issues as it relates to the
compensation issue, but we have come to recognize that compensation means
more to some members than others, so it's not that I'm going to discredit
what one member feels is more important to them, when in fact it they had
made presentations in terms of the land tax credit for example. Sister
Elena would tell you that meant nothing to her, while for me I saw that as
a viable option for me, so that not because sister Elena it doesn't mean
anything for her means that I'm going to discredit the position that she
takes. So, I might say yes that's okay for me but then I can't walk away
and say okay, fine that's okay for me, so forget the rest. I have to also
look at what my sister is saying next to me. At the end of the day if we're
in this together I cannot just only look after myself, I have to also
ensure that she walks out, we can't win everything, I've said to people,
government has in fact offered a credit package for teachers but there are
public officers who their children are doing online, so a data credit
package would work for public officers as well but we recognize that the
offers to teachers and we went along with it. So, we recognize that it
would never be something that fits all."
And near the end of the show, the PSU president agreed that while they
have been building momentum since the start of the protests, it has
been slowly fizzling out. But he told host, Jules Vasquez, that this is
necessary since it's time to step back and re-evaluate their position.
And after this, he believes the unions will come back even stronger.
Gerald Henry - President, PSU
"I don't want it blow out at the idea of oh the strike is going on for so
long and because of that means you're losing. No, it does not mean you're
losing, and I like to draw the analogy of how a slingshot works. In order
for the slingshot to cause whatever damage, you have to pull it back, there
are other times when you have to pull back, reorganize ourselves and then
we let lose again, we're probably in that phase right now, we are pulling
back and so it appears as if though we are withdrawing or losing but when
we come back from that now, you'd be surprise to know where we end up. So,
this is all a part of the process, you know while you are doing these
things because it's not an exact science and so you have to measure what
the other side is doing and reanalyse ourselves and see where it is that
you have falling down in the process and then try to ensure that going
forward, you fix those missteps that you probably have made. That is to me
personally the point we are at right now and we have to reorganize
ourselves, educate our public officers to let them what it is we are
fighting for, how is it that they can engage."