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Teachers Led Astray Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

teachers.jpg - 205.69 KbAbout 500 teachers from the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts took to the streets in a parade and rally, supposedly in an effort of advocacy on behalf of the different social issues facing the country. This newspaper says “supposedly” because while their National President, Luke Palacio, spoke on some of those issues, he spent quite a lot of time on their disputes about their salary increase, which the Government of Belize has already approved after extended negotiations.

On the morning of Friday, January 10, approximately 250 teachers from the Orange Walk branch of the BNTU marched a short route through the streets of the town, and then gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Park.

 The main address was given by Luke Palacio who spoke about corruption in public life, social security concerns and public insurance, to name a few, but he also spent a large portion of his time talking about the salary increase. They were mostly philosophical differences in opinions on how the salary issue is viewed, but the biggest tell on what it really was about came when the media asked the teachers supporting their union. Yes, they gave the advocacy answer, but quite a few of them said that it was about their pay increase. Even if they didn’t list it as their primary reason for supporting, they did at least offer it as one of the reasons. Their Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber, still isn’t convinced that important school hours need to be used to conduct these rallies. Speaking briefly on the logistics, Faber told the media that if the teachers, really wanted to, they could use a small amount of those Friday hours and still conduct classes accordingly. That could be a reasonable compromise, since the teachers have completely rejected the idea of conducting the rallies on the weekend.

 Faber has also said that the teachers need not fear being penalized for their participation in their union’s activities. He did say, though, that if the teachers became unreasonable with their participation in sustained union activities, the Ministry would have to seriously consider it, but not without careful deliberations with other education officials. It would also have absolutely no political motive, if they do reach that decision.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:23