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UB’s faculty and staff union concerned about university’s state of ‘financial exigency’

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Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2020. 1:22 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: BBN has obtained a copy of a letter submitted by the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Union (UBFSU) to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In their letter, the union says that the issue of the University’s Finance and considerations treating with redundancy falls within their portfolio and that the union is the sole bargaining agent for the bargaining unit better known as the “Faculty and Staff.”

“The Union must therefore be respected and be included in all mitigation measures that will affect its membership,” the union said.

The union notes that at the last board meeting, on the basis of an oral presentation by the President, the Board determined by a vote that the university was in a state of financial exigency.

“No documentary evidence was presented prior to that vote. No effects on the employees of the university were indicated. This is unacceptable. It is clear that the President has from the beginning excluded the union from this process and in fact has not disclosed any financial information that would provide us with the ability to make an informed decision,” the letter expressed.

Furthermore, the union says that on Monday, June 29, 2020, a digital presentation on finances from 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 was shared with conditions.

The presentation was reportedly not given to them in material form.

The union claims that the period presented is a farce given the fact that COVID-19 issues arose in 2019 and were not significantly felt until March 2020 in Belize.

Thus, the adequate period of study ought to be 2018-2019 and whatever we could glean from 2019-2020, not what has so far been presented.

The Board indicated to the President that he must consult with the UB Community regarding this issue.

“In this regard, the union is a partner and not a subordinate. That is to say, the UB Faculty and Staff is an agent with which the President ought to have consulted. Nonetheless, we have met with our membership, and there is no evidence of the President having a  transparent consultation with them. Thus, any information brought forward to the board is not representative of the inputs of our membership and this Union and may serve only to erode our members’ constitutional right to property among other things,” the union further stated.

The union urges the President be informed that an attempt to speak with the University Faculty and Staff on matters of terms and conditions of service is tantamount to union busting.

The union says that they are not in position to support any recommendations or any suggestion of any kind which is tantamount to no transparency on the part of  employers.

The union requests to receive the additional documents by July 9, 2020: Financials for 2018 – 2019 and whatever may be available for 2019 -2020 and any policy that the board may have devised regarding financials and matters of redundancy.

 

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