The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has announced that they will be holding a demonstration at the nation’s capital, Belmopan on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, to serve as a warning to the Ministry of Education on stalling on a number of issues affecting teachers.
BNTU President, Elena Smith, stated that the union has taken the position to demonstrate, in light of comments made by Minister of Education Patrick Faber, which the union maintains are completely untrue. Smith said that Faber continues to spread untruths about the ongoing negotiations for hardship allowance for teachers in remote areas and that the ministry is disrespecting the union by telling them to meet with district education managers instead of the Minister and his team.
According to the union, the minister agreed that two aspects of Proposal Twenty-Two would have been negotiated. It involves all high schools including Ecumenical, Toledo Community College, San Pedro High School and Corozal Community College. These four are under consideration to become government managed schools since they don’t have a proprietor.
The second vexing portion was B.N.T.U.’s recommendation for teachers and support staff employed at grant-aided high schools to be guaranteed one hundred percent pension and service benefits upon retirement.
“On November 7th the BNTU will gather in Belmopan to make their voices heard once more,” stated, Hon. Elena Smith, President of the BNTU. “ This is just the start of our actions; just the start. So, this is to show them that we will no longer tolerate their disrespect, we will no longer tolerate their union busting and we want to ensure that our members are heard so that we can get for our members what it is that they deserve."
In October 2016, the BNTU staged an 11 day strike in support of the efforts to get the government to meet its demand. This Wednesday’s demonstration is only the beginning for the union as they are prepared to go as far as it needs to go for the sake of its members.