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Trade unions seeking data for negotiations on critical issues

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Posted: Friday, January 7, 2022. 3:04 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Joint Unions Negotiating Team (JUNT) for Public Sector Workers has made public its call for the Government to present critical data necessary for negotiations on major issues, with the next meeting due next week.

The JUNT has representation from the Public Service Union of Belize (PSU), Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM). It is scheduled to meet with the Government side on January 12 but it reports that a pre-Christmas deadline for the provision of data and information was not met.

The JUNT and Government are preparing to commence discussion on the following items: a) the unfreezing of increments and projections for the reinstituting of the 10 percent salary adjustment; b) addressing the outstanding Joint Unions Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) within an established timeline c) clarifying with a view to ascertain and make good on Government’s commitment to providing special facilities at the National Bank and DFC, and d) offsetting of stamp duty and land tax arrears to public officers affected by the salary adjustments.

From back in October, the Government had committed to sending the financial information but has yet to do so. At the time of the formation of the Social Partnership Advisory Committee (SPAC) the JUNT wrote saying that while it applauded the establishment of this committee, it was not to be treated as a replacement as the JUNT remains the sole and legally recognized representative for public sector workers.

The team is seeking information on, among other things, the Government’s fiscal strategy, report of revenue, expenditures, debt profile, grants and incentives, repayment profiles for the Blue Bond and canceled Superbond; the value of supplementary appropriations and key items to deviate from the approved Budget; and a summary of measures for revenue and expenditure and explanation; statements from statutory bodies subsidized by the Government.

A lot? The JUNT believes the information is “limited” and “should be readily available and accessible in keeping with good accounting and financial management practices,” and repeats that it is in keeping with “an effort to engage in meaningful dialogue with Government and subsequently with Public Sector Workers.”

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