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Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 5:56 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Members of the Public service Union (PSU) will be engaging in strike action against the Government of Belize (GOB) next Monday, May 3, over the decision to proceed with the 10 percent salary cuts and three-year increment freeze included in the national budget.

The PSU’s calendar of events, released earlier this week, details the various industrial actions the union is taking due to the labor dispute, including work to rule, taking “medical checkup days” en masse, and wearing their yellow shirts on Friday, leading up to a full strike next week. The leadership of the PSU has, on several occasions within the past few weeks, said that the union is prepared to shut down for as long as it takes for the Government to take the salary adjustment off the negotiating table.

In its last letter written to the joint union negotiating team (JUNT) which includes the PSU, Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), GOB said that it would proceed with the salary cuts is not the only reduction being made to government spending, nor is it the most significant.

Minister of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform Henry Charles Usher, explained to the unions in that letter that the salary cut and increment freeze became necessary due to the current condition of Belize’s economy.

“…as I repeat to you again in this letter, with government’s revenue shortfall near 30%, a primary deficit of 8% of GDP, and debt-to-GDP ratio around 130% of GDP, the severe fiscal imbalance requires immediate action on both the revenue and expenditure side of public finances,” Henry said.

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