BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 31, 2021– Today, the Belize National Teachers Union, which has been engaged in industrial action for the past five weeks, issued a release in which it announced that the union will be putting a hold on their strike action.
Teachers are thus expected to return to the classroom (virtual or physical) on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, according to the release. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a motion to finalize the salary cuts for teachers and other government-paid workers. This piece of legislation will now go to the Senate for their rubber-stamp approval.
“The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), through this medium, wishes to inform that a decision has been made by the membership to put the strike on hold and return to the classrooms on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 to complete the remainder of the school year with our students,” the BNTU release stated.
The union will now engage in a court battle against the government of Belize as they continue to oppose what they consider the government’s strong-armed approach in proceeding with the salary cuts.
“Our fight will now be taken to the courts of Belize, as our legal team prepares to make that move on our behalf,” the BNTU release said.
The BNTU also pledged in the release that they will continue their fight to ensure that the good governance agenda is “thoroughly addressed” and “that the Government team comes back to the table to adequately continue the process that they have so disrespectfully abandoned.”
The release also stated that teachers will continue their protest from within their classrooms until GoB addresses “the will of the people whom they serve.”
They added that the union is ready and willing to seriously engage with the government.
These five weeks of protest have taken yet another toll on students, many of whom returned to the classroom for in-person learning just a short time before the demonstrations began.
Teachers who engaged in the protest action over that time also saw a sizeable deduction from their salaries, since the government made a decision to not pay them for a portion of the period during which they were on strike. The Ministry last week directed the school managements to ensure that those salaries for teachers who were still protesting are docked.
The BNTU’s release did not provide any details of the nature of the legal battle that they will engage in against the government of Belize, but the union had indicated in the past that they would challenge the decision of the government within the courts, if needs be.