The Belize National Teacher’s Union is also demanding that Government pass and implement the Occupational Health and Safety Bill. When this particular demand was first made in writing by the BNTU Prime Minister, Dean Barrow advised the union that the bill had received great opposition from the business sector. This was again discussed during last week’s meeting and BNTU’s latest letter to Barrow suggests that the union is still not happy with the Prime Minister’s response. In their most recent letter, the BNTU says that the Occupational Health and Safety Bill ‘needs urgent attention’.
“On the question of the occupational safety and health bill I pointed out that the utilities unions were writing to the chamber on the matter, they wished to see how they could agree a manner in which the bill could be passed without so increasing costs as to drive people out of business. Once more the fact that other unions were proceeding in that fashion counted for nought and the BNTU management and council insisted that the bill be passed at once.”
“We need to understand that the Prime Minister is a very skillful orator, he will say to you the things you want to hear, he will say the things that sound good, he never said in any of this written responses as it relates to the OSH bill in particular, he never said that he had met with chamber, he met with other unions for the first time we heard on Thursday despite all the other pronouncements that he had in his response that the OSH bill would be too costly to implement, that chamber is opposed to it, that employers are concerned about all the costs that would be incurred he never said to them, at least as far as I know in his response; it was on Thursday that he said to us, you know what this OSH bill needs to be brought back because it was dead when parliament was dissolved before the last elections. So who is playing games? If the bill has to go back why is he trying to appear that the BNTU is being inflexible on a bill that does not exist in effect.”