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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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It's official: salaries for teachers, public officers and open vote workers will be readjusted to reflect a ten percent reduction as of June first.� Earlier today, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight issued a circular to the Office of the Governor General, Chief Justice, Auditor General, Solicitor General, and C.E.O.s, among others, regarding a reduction in public service emoluments and allowances.� The document also introduces new pay scales.� The memorandum succeeds the ratification of the Public Sector Emoluments and Allowances Bill which was passed by the House or Representatives on May twenty-eighth and in the Senate on June fourth, respectively.� The bill is also the first piece of legislation to be signed by Governor General Froyla T'zalam since taking office on May twenty-seventh.� The Joint Union Negotiating Team, comprised of the leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union, Public Service Union and APSSM, are vehemently opposed to the salary reduction and was in a deadlock with the Brice�o administration for several weeks following failed negotiations.� The unions subsequently went on strike in what is the longest period of industrial action in recent history.� The emoluments payable to a minister of government is effectively reduced by fifteen percent, their allowances have been cut by fifty percent.� We will break down the new pay scales and who are most affected in Wednesday's newscast.

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,393
Marty Offline OP
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D.P.M. says the Wage Cuts are Not Forever

According to Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde, however, the enactment of a new pay scale is for legal purposes and does not affect government's commitment to implement the wage cuts for a period of three years only.

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister

"I imagine the lawyers who advice the government advised that we would have to take that route. But the commitment entirely is that it is not permanent. It is for the time being. The projection is for three years. But the commitment to the Union is that we would revisit this annually to see whether we need continue with the cuts or whether we can pull back from that. Every six months the union side and the government side will meet and look over the numbers to make sure that we are doing what we are suppose to do. And if we are not doing what we are suppose to do, and being derailed, we can get back on track and focus on what we need to do to meet our targets. So it's not permanent. It is for three years."

Pay Cuts Were Difficult Decision

And, while teachers and public servants will feel the pinch of the salary deduction in their next paycheck, Deputy PM Cordel Hyde says he too is feeling pain and discomfort. Hyde noted that this is the first time in history of Belize's independence that the salaries of public officers are being cut, an act which he says brings him no joy.

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister

"Whenever we are pitted on a side that is opposed to the unions, that is never easy for us. If you listen to the speeches, the honorable David Mckoy was a trade union leader in the 1950's. That is the roots of the People's United Party. In fact the first elections in the 1950 were run with the People's United Party in coalition with the General Workers Union. Whenever we are in opposing sides with the Union, that is never a good thing. That is supposed to make every warm-blooded People's United Party member uncomfortable. And so it certainly made me uncomfortable. I could not hide that. I made that known wherever I went. And even our Cabinet room, I made it known that is how I felt. But I also understand the circumstances we are in is unprecedented. We are living in really difficult times, and we had to make difficult decisions. No government in their right mind would want to cut salaries six months into their term. Not even six years in your term you would want to be doing that. And truth be told, in the forty years of independence history of this country we have never cut the salaries of public officers and teachers. This is the first. So this was painful and uncomfortable."

Channel 5

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