Government and Unions Sign Delayed Collective Bargaining Agreement at House of Culture

Government and Unions Sign Delayed Collective Bargaining Agreement at House of Culture

Prime Minister John Briceno made an appearance today at the House of Culture as the government finally signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the joint unions.  The signing was delayed a few times and had upset the union leaders to the point where they issued a release last week alleging that the government was intentionally dragging its feet.  Well, that’s all behind us now as the document has been signed, even if it expires in sixty days.  In speaking with the media this afternoon, Briceno explained that the government is fulfilling its commitment to the unions; a commitment they made when they needed the unions support when they had sought cost cutting measures in 2021.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “We made certain commitments to the union when we needed help, when we just got into government and lastly it is the right thing to do and that is why we managed to finally come bringing this agreement to an end which is unfortunately next two months the time period will end and we’ll have to start a new cycle. We are committed to it and that has not changed. Now why is it that we managed to be able to afford this although with sacrifice is simply because the economy has been going rather fast and we’ve been trying to control expenses as best as we possibly can.”

One of the key union negotiators, President of the Association of Public Sector Senior Managers, and former Chief Magistrate Sharon Frazer spoke about the hours-long meetings and hard work that went into today’s signing.

Sharon Frazer, President, APSSM: “While it is we would not have gotten everything we wanted and despite what people thought this collective bargaining agreement was never about money, about raise of pay because if you look at it for those of you who would have an opportunity to see it, it dealt with terms and conditions, it dealt with improving the public service and the service that we offer to the public. It also spoke to accountability, looking at our performance appraisal and all things relating to that. As one of the older member who has been around the table as far as this – senior member, Thank you PM – senior member I am excited. I didn’t come here with any written and prepared speech because these proposals are stuck in my head for the longest while. I’ve worked them out, I’ve had to sit down in terms of assisting to find source documents to bring us to where we are today. It was about respecting, respecting each other and in fact recognizing that we were equal partners around the table. That is what industrial relations is about. And I’m hoping that Prime Minister after today the journey starts, a new journey starts.”

While the agreement’s signing is seen as historic, it is also considered as being symbolic. That’s because the CBA expires in three months, which means the parties will need to negotiate once more in the coming months. Nonetheless, Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde believes that the move will have a positive impact, particularly when it comes to teachers.  

The JUNT consists of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, the Public Service Union, the Association of Public Sector Senior Managers (APSSM), and the Belize National Teacher’s Union.

Related post

Senate Debates Key Bills, Ratifies Latin American Space Convention

Senate Debates Key Bills, Ratifies Latin American Space Convention

The Senate met today at the National Assembly in Belmopan to debate several bills and wrapped up just after 5:20 this…
State of Emergency Extended in Belize and Cayo Districts

State of Emergency Extended in Belize and Cayo Districts

Another resolution passed was the extension of the government’s State of Emergency in the Belize and Cayo Districts. The SOE was…
Senate Approves $50M IDB Loan for Urban Development and Healthcare

Senate Approves $50M IDB Loan for Urban Development and…

The Senate then moved on to a loan motion for almost 50 million Belize dollars from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *