By Benjamin Flowers: The Joint Union Negotiating Team (JUNT) negotiating cost-saving measures with the Government of Belize (GOB) has reportedly rejected the proposal for teachers and public officers to take a 10 percent salary cut among other measures proposed by GOB.
The decision came after the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU) and National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) issued surveys to their respective memberships detailing GOB’s latest proposal and requesting feedback. The members reportedly rejected the salary cut, but would be willing to discuss the proposed three-year annual increment freeze, pending some clarification.
As a concession for accepting the salary cut, GOB had offered to shorten the work week by four hours and offer $10 million in loan financing at the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and National Bank of Belize. Ministers, Ministers of State and Chief Executive Officers would also take a five percent salary deduction, on top of the 10 percent they already took when the Briceno administration took office, for a total of 15 percent. Government did not agree to a complete removal of telephone and entertainment allowance, but proposed that the allowances be cut by half.
The joint union team maintains that GOB is calling for austerity; however, continually contradicts itself by making decisions such as increasing the wage bill through hiring of new government workers, and increasing expenditures by renting new office spaces.
Negotiations are reportedly to continue this week, ahead of the Friday Special Sitting of the House of Representatives.