Palacio, Why Isn’t It about SALARY ADJUSTMENTS? Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Willimas   
Thursday, 06 February 2014 00:00

bntu executive.jpg - 68.43 KbWhenever the leaders of the country’s biggest unions meet with Prime Minister Barrow, the Financial Secretary opens all the books. They get to know exactly how the economy is doing and they get the latest information on Government revenues.

The last meeting with union leaders and Prime Minister Barrow was Thursday, January 30th, and once again they were updated on the performance of the economy and revenue collection. We are told that there was positive reaction to the numbers revealed. According to someone with knowledge of the event, the only friction was a request for a “floor” by a representative from the Belize National Teachers Union. A request which Prime Minister Barrow could not grant since there is too much outstanding data to make a commitment before the financial year ends. Bottom line is; teachers and public officers have a lot to be happy about. At the House meeting held on Wednesday, PM Barrow noted that the public officers and teachers will get no less than a 6% salary increase, 2% by way of the yearly salary adjustment and the 4% from revenues collected.

The BNTU executives do not want the public to know of the great fortune coming their way. Truth be told, the fabulous news they received in the most recent meeting with Prime Minister Barrow has not even been relayed to the majority of Belize’s teachers. Why hasn’t it?

Phillip Palacio has an agenda to undermine this U.D.P. Administration and his best card is an angry membership. He doesn’t want to inform the teachers that they have a big pay day coming in July. Prime Minister Barrow has been on the record saying that the teachers will see a substantial salary adjustment, at least three percent. Isn’t it a floor they are asking for? The most recent information shows that it may even be closer to four percent. When the annual increment is factored in, teachers can be assured of at least a 6 percent salary increase. Palacio already knows that.

That is exactly why he and the other members of the executive bark at reporters when they are asked about the salary adjustment at their press conference. “This is not about salary adjustments!!!” they shout. Why is it not about salary adjustment? Simply because it cannot be about salary adjustment. Salary adjustment is a good topic for the UDP Administration. This Government has provided an annual salary adjustment for over 95 percent of teachers since it came into power. Millions of dollars have already been spent on salary adjustments for teachers and public officers through the reintroduction of annual increments.

The “I” word makes Palacio and other union leaders most nervous. They hate when reporters bring it up and they even accuse the Prime Minister of trying to mislead the public when he speaks of it. The “I” word is a bad word. Palacio and the BNTU executives say the “I” word is not a salary adjustment because it is based on performance. If that is so, how can over 90 percent of teachers receive increment with the P.S.E. and CXC scores that comes in annually? Increment may be based on a lot of things but it surely isn’t performance. Increment is similar to the United States’ COLA, Cost of Living Adjustment. It is designed to ease the hit from inflation on public officers. How many years has inflation been lower than two percent since 2008? Yet, over 90 percent of teachers and public officers have received a two percent increment annually. At the next press conference a reporter should give Palacio a dictionary and dare him to read the meaning of increment.
That is why it cannot be about salary adjustment. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 15:33