Thursday, April 24, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) met this week at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City.
President Luke Palacio says the Union has been reviewing its activities, particularly with regard to maintaining the fight against perceived government corruption and quality of life issues for teachers and public servants.
He cites the status of non-teaching staff at certain schools and instructors at the ITVET as examples.
After reports from executive members of the union on Wednesday during the business session, the union turned to its members for input on internal management and how the BNTU can be more effective and responsive for its members in addressing their grievances and concerns to time.
Today’s session opened with a look at the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, and will continue with certain resolutions from the union on important issues.
Luke Palacio (President, BNTU)
Palacio told us that the Ministry of Education ignored their last letter requesting a meeting, and he said that that there is still work to do to mend the frayed relationship with the Ministry, while still defending teachers’ rights.
The BNTU, he told us, will not back down from its position that it is not in a “master-slave” relationship with the Ministry, but it does want dialogue.
The convention is held annually with participation from the ten branches of the Union. Hosts this year are the Belize District Branch chaired by Kathleen Flowers.
Meanwhile the issue of the salary adjustment for teachers and public officers remains very much on the minds of those most affected.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced earlier this year that there would be no less than a 5% salary adjustment for teachers and public officers is to take effect in July, retroactive to the start of April and the financial year.
It is expected to cost $19 million this year and a total of nearly $60 million over three years when combined with the annual increment.
Still, the teachers in particular would like a more binding form of commitment from the Government, which they are yet to get.
BNTU President Luke Palacio told us that they are preparing to dialogue with Financial Secretary Joseph Waight to nail down the specifics of the adjustment but all indications are that the adjustment is on and the Union will hold Government to it.
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