By Benjamin Flowers: Last week, the Government of Belize (GOB) warned the unions that they would have their salaries docked for any strike action taken after May 15; today the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and Public Service Union (PSU) continued their strike and called out Prime Minister John Briceño for allegedly taking actions that contradict the things he says.
Gale Garcia, Belize City Branch Chair of the PSU, said that teachers and public officers have sacrificed a great deal for Belize, despite what the GOB has said about them, and are prepared to continue doing so for a better Belize.
“When the now Prime Minister was in opposition he was right there standing by the teachers supporting them demanding better governance from the then UDP administration. We are still out here fighting knowing that we might not get a salary and that is fine because we believe in what we are fighting for. Good governance is not just for today…,” Garcia said.
Garcia also noted that the unions play a key role in holding GOB accountable, especially when the Prime Minister continues to act against cost-saving recommendations and hiring additional government staff, while demanding that teachers and public officers take a salary cut.
“We’re still seeing new hires. How are you trying to tell us that the wage bill is too high, yet you’re out here hiring persons? That is contradicting what you’re telling us, but yet you are ready to cut our salaries,” Garcia added.
The Unions are demanding that GOB resume negotiations with regard to cost-saving measures, to discuss compensation for the salary cuts which have already been implemented.