Earlier this week, we told you about the meeting that members of the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association had in Belmopan in regards to their request for a 14 percent raise in their salaries. The Executive of the Association has been communicating with the President of the University, Allan Slusher, who in a letter told the Association that the staff and faculty have already received a five percent raise and their 14 percent raise request cannot be afforded by the University. However, the faculty and staff are not standing down as rallies have been held on the University campus in Belmopan. Yesterday we caught up with Minister of Education Patrick Faber at a UDP rally in the Caribbean Shores division and we asked if he feels that the faculty and staff deserve the raise.
“Well I believe that we can sit down and talk about it and my only concern about what has been happening at the University of Belize as it relates to that raise issue is the fact that those who are agitating for it are trying to force it, so to speak, because the elections are here. I think that if you look at all the other areas that raises have been given, the Public Service and the statutory body that is the KHMH and so on, it has been a process and it should never be as simply as “everybody else is getting a raise so we deserve one too so we want it now before the election”; that should not be the case and I do not support that. I support sitting down and dialogueing and making sure that we come up with arrangements as well to increase productivity on the part of all workers who are asking for such an increase in salary.”
Love News was sent a copy of the letter the University President’s sent to the interim President of the Association, Harrison Flowers. In that letter dated October 20, Slusher informed Flowers that he has written to the CEO in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports seeking the Ministry’s guidance on the steps to be followed in this matter. However, Faber says he is not aware of that letter.
“We have not received any request like that from the President of the University of Belize. In fact our understanding is that as I’ve said that there is a process that they are engaged in and until that process, they believe they’ve reached some kind of stalemate position, it is not my place to interfere at all. I do appoint the Board of the University of Belize but they are a completely autonomous body and in fact, any raise that the faculty and staff would be requesting would not be a raise from the Government but a raise from the University itself. Now if the university says that they are not in a position to handle that and we are asking for a greater subvention from the Ministry of Education by the Government of Belize then that is a whole different ball game.”
The Executive of the University of Belize Faculty and Staff association hopes to meet with CEO David Leacock soon.