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Joint Unions Demand GOB Provide a Report on the Economic

The joint unions were to first meet in October 2021 with government representatives to discuss the progress in the country’s revenue and expenditure. Senator Smith explained to Love News that the fact that the first meeting is yet to happen, is a clear indication that of bad faith. She added that all the unions are asking for is a report to ensure that the ten percent in salary cuts and the increment freeze are still a necessity at this point.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU: The meeting was scheduled from I believe November or so we had received the date to meet today and then we just got the email recently to say due to scheduling conflicts the meetings had to be postponed period. Now this has been I believe the third if I’m not mistaken the third or fourth postponement of our meeting with the government side, it’s not just the first time that they’re postponing and we should have met from October. The agreement was at six months later we would be meeting, we will be reviewing government’s financial position so that we could determine where we are, how things are going and have some discussions on what it looks like for our 10% whether we were in near getting that back, whether it would have to go to another year those kinds of discussions we would have had as well as the increments. Those meetings have been postponed, every time we set a date it’s a postponement for some reason at this time it’s clashing of schedules and we are saying well if you give us a date from in November for example then you should not have put any other thing on this date because you already made a commitment to the unions knowing that you were two months already or three months behind our meeting date and for you to set another meeting on the same day that you gave us is really untruly acting in bad faith.

Reporter: Do you feel that they’re avoiding the discussion?

Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “Well I don’t know what else we should think because the government has met with the social partnership committee and I am sure that some of the same information that they have shared with them will be what they will share with us because at the end of the day they were going to be reporting to that committee on how we are in terms of how we are doing financially what’s the position like, are we making headway, so that would have been some of the same things that they would share with us except for us we would have wanted a little more details in terms of how we are spending money is because we have to ensure that you are holding my 10% because you really aren’t truly need it it’s not because you just want to hold it and say OK you know what we have to prove to IMF or somebody that we are not paying these people and they’re sacrificing and so then when you insert and documentation for us to be able to determine for ourselves that that is so. That was the reason why we requested for those documents so that we could spend some time before the meeting to go through them to be able to see what is happening, have our questions together, have our concerns prepared and ready for the meeting that we would have had today. Our members are the ones who have lost increment, who have lost salaries for that reason the government should be communicating with the three unions, with the JUNT, we are the unions who represent these persons who have lost wages and increments and so you communicate with us, you meet with us, you share with us no other body or no other group should come before us in terms of having that discussion with regards to our financial position because those other groups have not lost any salaries or any increments.”

Senator Smith went further to say that the information and accountability are not just for the assurance of the public officers and teachers, but they are to be given to the general public as a practice of transparency.

Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “You are talking about cutting our salaries because of the dire situation that the country was in and you have to be able to show us that listen the same way you came to us to say this is the position it is so bad that we have to cut your salaries see we are not collecting this, we are not collecting that here the same way you came to us with that information you should now come to us with information to show listen these are our expenses, we have collected these sums of money, this is how we have spent, this is what we have you have to be accountable. This government keeps on reminding that they will do things differently, they’re about doing things differently, they want to be accountable they want to be transparent so then if that is so then let us begin. And as union we have a responsibility as a matter of fact all of us as citizens our responsible for holding our governments accountable it doesn’t matter who they are and so this is one step for us one to be able to get information to hold them accountable but to also be able to properly report information to our membership. So it is our hope that the government will understand the importance of providing this information, the importance of having these discussions so that our people can be satisfied that what it is that we’re sharing with them and what it is that we are telling them is so based on fact not what we think, not what we heard but based on what we would have seen in these reports.”