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Trade Union Congress backs Joint Union Negotiating Team; delineates points of contention with the Briceño administration

Posted: Sunday, February 26, 2023. 10:16 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) this week reaffirmed its support for the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU) and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) as negotiations continue on critical issues with the Government of Belize.

In a statement, the Congress discussed the issues of increment restoration, collective bargaining and pension reform. It offered blanket support for the restoration of increments “within the Financial Year 2023-2024,” i.e. the upcoming year.

The NTUCB derided the “quagmire” of pension reform discussion as “an additional misguided taxation of workers’ salaries” that cannot be done right away due to various “nuances.” Such reform when it comes must be sustainable and, according to the Congress, address “public service expenditures, revenue enhancement and more importantly prudent financial management of government finances, assets and other resources.”

The above matters and others should be included in a three-year collective bargaining agreement, the Congress proposes, including the adoption of Proposal 22 of the 2009 CBA for the teachers; pension reform, revised retirement age, 25 percent tax reduction to public officers’ wages and national public sector workers insurance coverage.

The Congress concludes that there should be equity and consideration for all, including public sector workers, and that issues such as addressing inflation, price gouging, health sector reform and factors affecting the transport sector are of equally great urgency.

Further discussions are planned before the reading of the 2023 General Revenue and Appropriation Bill on March 10 in the House of Representatives.


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