BELMOPAN, Fri. Apr. 23, 2021– On Friday, the Attorney General, Hon. Magali Marin Young told the media that the Minister of Public Service is empowered by the Constitution of Belize to fix the salaries of government workers.
The legal opinion from the AG has been declared to the public as the deadlock between the coalition of public-sector unions and the Government of Belize presses on. The Government has since, through the Public Service Minister, Hon. Henry Usher, issued a letter to the unions that informs them that their salaries will be fixed by May 15, 2021, at the latest.
The unions have been slowly ramping up their demonstrations, through which they call for the Briceño administration to revisit the pay cuts and also to fully implement good governance legislation and reform within the country.
The Attorney General noted that the last time a cut like this occurred was between 1995 and 1997, when an increment freeze was put into effect under the UDP’s Esquivel administration.
She shared her view that the government side has engaged in genuine consultation, given the length, and the number, of meetings that the unions and the Government have had since the start of negotiations.
“From listening to Prime Minister Briceño, yes, the intent initially is for a fixed period, but the government has undertaken to review annually the fiscal position, and if it is that we are able to revert back to the salaries pre- any reduction that is made, that he is going to do so,” the Attorney General said.
While the Minister of Public Service is poised to invoke section 106(3) of the Belize Constitution to put into effect the tiered salary adjustment laid out by the Government of Belize, the Attorney General said that the unions have the right to challenge the decision of the Minister of Public Service if they so choose.