BELIZE CITY, Fri. June 4, 2021– Last week, the Joint Unions submitted a letter of response to the government of Belize’s most recent proposal, which contained a final set of offers and concessions that the government pledged to put into effect in order to get the unions to accept the 10% salary cuts. In that letter the unions claimed that the government acted in bad faith and is not yet ready to work collaboratively towards the end goal of good governance. Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Hon. Francis Fonseca, acknowledged the receipt of this letter and has publicly expressed his view of the unions’ response.
According to Fonseca, the unions chose to respond in a very “unprofessional and political manner”. “[It is] a very political letter, a very personal [letter]. I don’t think that helps anyone,” he said. Nonetheless, the minister claims that the Cabinet is always open to dialogue, and his ministry wishes to continue this dialogue with the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU).
“As the Minister of Education, I have an absolute obligation and duty to work with the Belize National Teachers’ Union and I am absolutely committed to doing that. I can tell you that throughout this strike period, we have had meetings in terms of the ministry personnel and the union. As you know, the teachers’ union sits on many of our boards, like the National Council for Education,” said Minister Fonseca. He also pledged to continue working alongside the unions in an effort to devise a plan that is acceptable to both parties.
“So we are going to continue to work with them, with the unions across the table, the joint unions in good faith. If there are any other issues that we can work on together to better assist the Public Service Union, the teachers’ union, then we are prepared to do that,” he said.