Posted: Friday, December 23, 2022. 8:49 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The Government of Belize (GOB) will not be reinstating increments for teachers and public officers that were frozen in 2020, according to the latest information provided by the Joint Unions Negotiating Team (JUNT).
On Wednesday, the JUNT which is comprised of the Public Service Union (PSU), Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), and the Association of Public Sector Senior Managers (APSSM), issued an update regarding the 10 points the unions brought up for discussion at the latest meeting with Prime Minister John Briceno and his team Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde, Minister of Education Francis Fonseca, Minister of Public Service and Constitutional Reform, Henry Usher and Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight on Tuesday, December 20.
“The Prime Minister informed that there will not be any restoration of increments to Public Officers. Additionally, the PM informed that consideration to resume paying increments in the future will be contingent on Pension Reform (Contributory Pension),” the JUNT said.
“The Prime Minister informed that the frozen increments were a sacrifice and as such no compensation will be given. He reiterated that increments will remain frozen until 2024 and that when resumption on the payment of increments happens, it will be contingent on the discussion of Pension Reform,” the team added.
Minister Usher also informed that there must also be a revision of the Performance Appraisal System to be more performance-based.
The JUNT said that they argued against such revision noting that the current appraisal system is already performance-based and it was the persons responsible for doing/supervising the appraisals that skewed the process. The Unions also argued that there must be Tax Reform along with Pension Reform.
PM Briceno, in response, said that the issue of Tax Reform will be looked at separately as the current consideration of the government is to phase out Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax by the end of the year.
“The Government will aim to implement Pension Reform in April 2023. Discussion on these matters will begin in January 2023,” the JUNT added.
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