The Belize National Teachers Union took the issue of their salaries to court and emerged content that the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin had ordered that they be paid in full despite the strike action taken that kept them out of the classrooms for eleven days. Although content with the fact they received their full salaries, BNTU’s President Luke Palacio told the media that it is not enough as they are now looking to fight the order given by the Ministry of Education that says that one week will be taken from the Christmas holidays and one week from the Easter holidays in order to make up for the time lost as a result of the strike. Palacio had noted that the law demands that the teachers receive their vacation time and they will seek to hold on to that. With only a few weeks before school closes for the Christmas holiday, we asked Education Minister, Patrick Faber to comment on when the schools will reopen in January 2017.
“Well Mr. Palacio has said that the union will not engage in the additional day added to the school’s calendar by the ministry in fact he accused the ministry and the managing authorities of working together in plotting. We tried our best to engage all the stakeholders including the unions to try to make sure that the children are the benefactors in what we do at the end of the day. Mr. Palacio is right when he says that ordinarily the days for Christmas and all other breaks are specified in the law but it also says that when you fall below that 180 days that in fact those changes can be made and that is exactly what the ministry and the managing authorities engaged in and so we have not changed course we will ask teachers to be present on January 3rd to ensure that our children who I’ve always maintained are the ones who we should be focused on get maximum benefit as it relates to class time as we have lost very valuable time as a result of the recent strike action.”
Love News understands that the BNTU is yet to instruct their attorneys to make any application to the courts surrounding the holiday issue. As it relates to the salaries, a first hearing is slated for December 16 before the Chief Justice.