And while the teachers will strike again tomorrow, Government Ministers say it’s time to return to the negotiating table. Today a release was sent out in which in which the Government expressed its disappointment with the Belize National Teachers Union for striking, closing schools and affecting children and parents. The Government’s release says quote, “The initial BNTU campaign was first declared to be centered on a good governance agenda as set out in the eight demands contained in their letter to the Prime Minister. However, the formal strike notice sent to the Chief Education Officer dated September 30, 2016, did a switch and listed the 3% salary adjustment and the so-called Proposal 22 as the main reasons for the strike. Yet, the BNTU had already acknowledged that the Prime Minister has proposed a compromise on the 3%, to which the BNTU has not yet responded; and that Government is seeking to reconvene the Joint Unions’ Negotiating Team to further discuss the compromise.” End of quote. So today, BNTU’s President was asked if the union is flip flopping on the issues.
“Remember the government has to give it its own twist. The bottom line remains that we never said that the 3% salary adjustment was off the table. The Prime Minister has made a request for a deferral the BNTU is adamant in refusing to accept the request without us getting any guarantee that there is something we will get for our money because we’ve said it over and over that money was already there, the government has already raised that revenue in the last financial year. In terms of them saying we are flip flopping on proposal 22 they are the ones who are flip flopping because we had met, there has been discussion and we have been consistent that we are not prepared to accept this injustice, this malpractice, this denial that they have of social justice for our teachers and support staff at the grant aided secondary schools. It was the Minister of Education that came there and said these negotiations have been going on for too long we close negotiations. We were adamant. Mr.Fraser was adamant in particular that negotiations were not closed. When it comes to the matter in this release that they are talking about I was supposed to get back to them and the BNTU was to lead the charge for some meeting scheduled for October 15 that was not what happened. The CEO for education said to us clearly that he will send out the letters to the managements of those schools inviting them to a meeting so let them not come and try to change the story simply because their backs are against the wall. They hate to see the support that the BNTU is getting and we will not back down. We are not going to have our teachers and support staff at those grant aided secondary schools leave without any service benefit particularly because in the case of government secondary schools where we teach the same subject that these teachers in our grant aided secondary schools have to follow we are saying that we deserve 100% of our service benefit and we are going to fight for that.”