Will unions strike?

Belize City, Thus. Jan 31, 2013.

Government of Belize says it cannot afford to accede to the unions’ requested ‘salary adjustment,’ but unions say the GOB can, and has threatened the possibility of further industrial action.

The unions lead negotiators, who are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Barrow tomorrow, Friday, has said that they are hoping that the meeting proves fruitful, because they would not want to extend their industrial action beyond Tuesday’s National Day of protest, which was held in Belmopan and culminated at the compound of the National Assembly Building.

However, Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber said Tuesday that their demands for a 30 percent increase is impossible, because the government just does not have the funds.

Faber said that there is also no possibility for a compromise.

Faber said that if you compare the unions and the government’s figures, one would see that the that salary adjustment would leave a gap of tens of millions of dollars in the national budget.

“I think what the Prime Minister intends to do on Friday in our meeting is to say to people that these monies are simple not there; but lets talk about how else we can ameliorate some of the conditions that teachers and public servants experience on a day-to-day basis,” Faber concluded.

Faber, who was unable to gain front door access to his Belmopan office because of the teachers and other public officers’ peaceful demonstration outside the National Assembly building, told the media that he walked past without really looking at the large crowd of protesters.

He said that he does not hold it against anybody who is protesting: It is their right to make their point clear to the government and anybody else.

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