Each month the management of pre, primary and secondary schools who are either fully funded or subsidized by the Ministry of Education are required to submit their paysheets for their teachers by the first Wednesday so as to have them processed in time. As you would recall, the Ministry of Education had announced last month that for those teachers who went on strike, deductions would be made to their salaries. Those deductions were to be done in October but due to time constraints and the ministry’s willingness to negotiate with the Belize National Teachers Union, teachers received their salaries in full for October with the condition that if any deductions were to be made it would be effected in November. On the heels of that announcement, came the request by the Education Minister, Patrick Faber to meet with the BNTU’s executive where they would discuss the way forward and the possibility of using the strike fund to compensate the teachers who went on strike. After an exchange of emails between Minister Faber and BNTU’s President, Luke Palacio, it turned out that no meeting time was ever decided upon and a stalemate resulted. That stalemate has now led to the Ministry of Education making the decision that the days missed during the strike action will be deducted from teachers’ salaries since the deadline to submit paysheets is today and the BNTU has gone silent. Love News spoke with Minister Faber following his meeting with members of the pre and primary school management.
“As far as we’re concerned today is the deadline for the submissions of pay sheets as I had indicated to Mr. Palacio in my communication with him via email that Ministry would stand committed to engage in that kind of discussion so long as there is time. We have to make a submission, getting those submissions today because then there is a process in government for these payments to dealt with and processed and ready for the pay period and I have not heard back from Mr. Palacio, he has not accepted the meeting granted with the terms that I have put forward. He in fact wrote back to say that if it is not the 25 and it is not under their terms then there is no meeting so I suppose in doing that and by not coming back to the table under the terms that I specified that he agreed not to have a meeting and so we have to proceed and so in short, we will proceed with the deductions in the month of November and we will as I have said engage the managing authorities now and even the BNTU if they are concerned, to be a part of what is going on to talk about the move to remodel or reorganize if you will the school’s calendar so that valuable loss time can be made up and I am careful to say again that there will be compensation if those days are added on to the school’s calendar.”