Tonight, the unions are planning for an industrial strike. The plans come after the government decided to pursue the ten percent salary cut for public officers and teachers. When Prime Minister Briceno announced that even with an industrial strike the government will ensure that the ministries continue to provide services to the public, he was asked if that meant that he would bring in temporary staff.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well every responsible government has to be concerned about it but we are also working on our plans that should we go down that road, and I hope we don’t, that we can put in place the necessary measures that we can continue to collect the revenues. We are putting plans in place so that the government continues to function. At the end of the day the government employees they work for the people of this country and if they believe that they can just walk away from their jobs well then that’s their right but we are going to ensure and we’re going to do everything possible to keep the government working.”
Reporter: Does that mean that if offices start becoming empty because public officers are out on the streets protesting that you will bring in people to replace them ?
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “I never said any such thing. What I’m saying is we’re going to ensure that the services continue to be offered to the Belizean people.
Reporter: Wouldn’t it be that when they go on industrial action you have to concede certain things anyway ?
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Absolute – what can we concede? We have done everything that we can to try to get them around the table. We offered them alright we’re cutting your salary by ten percent then work ten percent less hours which was four hours and they said well we don’t want four they want five and we gave it to them. We have done everything possible to be able to get them to accept the ten percent and there’s only so much that we can do.”
The situation remains a live issue and we will keep following its developments.