JUNT and the GOB to meet in less than a week
In less than a week, the Joint Union’s Negotiating Team (JUNT) will be meeting with the government to discuss ways of finalizing and implementing their respective requests. The unions have listed a number of demands, including the restoration of increments by April 1, doing away with the proposed pension reform, and signing the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It is expected that in the upcoming meeting, the parties will be able to formally sign their respective agreements. However, the unions say that if their increments are not restored by April 1, industrial action will follow despite GOB’s promise to do so within the fiscal year. Today, Minister Fonseca, who is a part of the government’s negotiating team, was asked if the government will be including the monies needed to restore those increments in its budget presentation for the upcoming fiscal year.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “As you know I think all of you know we have a follow up meeting with the unions on March 2nd I believe it’s March second, next week Thursday. So we have taken their points of concern back to the Cabinet. We had a discussion about it yesterday we had a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the budget and as a part of that discussion we discussed these issues. We’ll have another Cabinet meeting on Tuesday where we’ll have some follow up discussions and make some decisions on these matters so that when we go back to the table with the joint unions next week Thursday you know I think we’ll be in a position to say to them very clearly where we stand and hear from them. We have always said in terms of pension reform that that is not something over night that we will solve. But we certainly want to start the discussion and have in place some framework for moving forward on that very important issue we can’t continue down that road it’s absolutely unsustainable everyone knows that. So that issue, the issue of increments is critically important. We have already stated on the record that we are going to unfreeze increments during this fiscal year it’s just a question of when we can do that in terms of the financial situation. The unions obviously want it done April first so that has been the discussion. So I really believe we’re very very close we’re not very far apart and I think coming out or our meeting next week Thursday I think we’ll all be able to reach a fairly good agreement on the way forward.”