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Home Highlights PSU members mulling over GOB’s offer

PSU members mulling over GOB’s offer

BELIZE CITY, Sat. May 15, 2021– On Friday, the 1st vice president of the Public Service Union (PSU), Dean Flowers, told local media that when approximately 200 members of the union were surveyed immediately after the last meeting between the government and the Joint Unions Negotiating Team, the initial response of the majority of those 200 members to government’s last proposal was favorable.

Over the weekend the union rolled out a national survey of its members in order to get a general mandate as to a way forward.

Flowers shared, “We want them to have a clear understanding of each point, and especially the key point which speaks to the new proposal that we are seeing for the first time, which concerns the performance bonus.”

During a televised public address last week, Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño informed the nation of a performance bonus that his administration was proposing to offer to public workers to offset the impact of the salary cuts. The bonus, however, will only be paid if the country achieves its primary balance target for each year.

In reference to government’s final set of proposals, and to the proposed performance bonus in particular, Flowers stated, “In terms of the response that we’ve received, the initial set of responses that we have received would appear that members are, they would appear favorable to the government[‘s] final set of proposals. However, that is contingent on our ability to put the ground rules in place so to speak, because as you would know, from the government[‘s] latest set of proposals and in particular where any form of compensation may be concerned, that hinges on the performance of what I would describe as some specialized units, as well as on a tripartite social partnership agreement, and so those are some of the ground rules that we have to iron out. “

He said that those mechanisms would have to be free of political interference in order for such bodies to carry out their tasks of oversight effectively in order to ensure that the government’s primary balance goals are met and the bonuses are paid.

“The group that we spoke to last night seem[ed] to [be] favorable and amenable, if it is that we can get a clear understanding and if we can agree on the ground rules on how that social partnership agreement would work as well as how those specialized units would function as it relates to ensuring that we monitor costs as well as ensuring that we maximize on our revenue collection,” Flowers said.

He noted that while some around the discussion table are displaying signs of negotiation fatigue, others are just warming up. However, he also mentioned that he is not sure that there will be another negotiation meeting regarding the proposal, since the government’s team had said that what was presented was the last approved set of proposals.

Flowers said that when their discussion with the members of the unions is concluded, they will go back to the government with a decision from the joint unions. He outlined that while one union may agree to the new proposals, another may reject them. The Belize National Teachers Union has been adamant that they would not accept the 10% salary cut without meaningful concessions.

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