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Teachers vote for National Day of Protest

More than 500 teachers voted in favor of a proposal to hold a National Day of Protest, in Belmopan on Tuesday, January 29.
The votes were taken when the Belize District Branch of the Belize National Teachers Union met at Holy Redeemer Parish Hall on Thursday.
The BNTU, which has been trying to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement, in which the union is asking for a 30 percent salary increase for its teachers, is of the view that the government can afford to give the teachers a salary increase, especially since the economy has been experiencing an average growth of around 3%.
Teachers, who attended Thursday’s meeting, were of the view that the government has disrespected them by its failure to even consider giving them the increase.
Since the BNTU submitted the collective bargaining agreement in 2008 and 2009, the government has not moved from its position.
When the votes to hold a National Day of Protest were finally tallied, some 511 teachers voted “yes” to holding the protest.
There was only one vote against the protest.
On the question of strike action beyond January 29, some 488 teachers voted “yes” and only 15 voted against, with one spoilt ballot.
More than 400 teachers said the BNTU should provide bus transportation to Belmopan.
The Reporter has learned that the BNTU branch in Orange Walk and Dangriga also voted in support of the day of protest.
The National Council of the BNTU will now have to vet the votes from its various branches.
The BNTU, the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Public Service Senior Managers have been meeting with government for the better part of four years.
Last August, the unions and government held meetings, after Prime Minister Dean Barrow named Education Minister Patrick Faber as head of the ministerial team.
Prior to those meetings, the unions had requested a meeting with all the ministers under whose portfolios the interest of the unions fall.
The teachers also discussed the BNTU’s position on the crime situation in the country and the International Court of Justice referendum.

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