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Public Service Union: We made those proposals not the government

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Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 12:37 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The Public Service Union (PSU) said today that it was the Joint Union Negotiating Team (JUNT) that made proposals for incentives for teachers and public officers to accept a 10 percent salary cut and three-year increment freeze, NOT the Government of Belize.

As we reported earlier, a government source said that GOB offered the unions either compensation in the form of land, a credit note that can be used to pay off mortgages in seven to 10 years, or a promissory note covering the amount lost during the three years that can be cashed in later. The PSU said that those proposals came from the JUNT but that when they were made, the Minister of Labour warned that the government is not obligated to offer any compensation in exchange for their agreement to the cost-saving measures.

“They were supposed to meet with Cabinet yesterday and give us a response to those very proposals…whether or not they were even going to consider making any sort of compensation whatsoever, and that is the response we are awaiting from them,” explained Gerald Henry, PSU President.

Henry also said that the JUNT presented the initial proposals for compensation were taken to the memberships of the various unions over the weekend but were not looked upon favorably for reasons including the fact that not all teachers and public officers have mortgages; a salary cut would severely affect those officers who are renting; members are discouraged from accepting government bonds due to previous litigation seen experienced by the Public Service Workers Trust (PSWT); and that government might have to acquire the land for compensation, which may come at a cost to union members.

There is currently no new date set for the parties to return to negotiations; however, the national budget, which was crafted to include the salary cuts and increment freeze, goes to the House of Representatives for debate later this week.

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