The Government of Belize under Prime Minister Dean Barrow has opened the books to the Union negotiating team who have been seeking a salary increase for public officers and teachers. Everything has been afforded them, the Microscope, the tweezers and even the scalpel. And while the Unions have been able to peer into the financial affairs of the government, there are those who wonder, who peers into the financial affairs of the unions.
Very little if anything is known about their finances, anyone would be hard pressed to find any financial statements by any of the unions. With the exception of revenues derived from BTL shares, very little is known about how much money the unions have.
Well if the BTL revenue is any indication, the unions are quite well off, that is, if the money they collect is available to the membership. The Guardian has been able to secure information as to how much the unions, both the Public Service Union and the Teachers Union have been collecting over the years as dividends from the telecommunications company.
Readers will recall that under the second Esquivel administration the unions were given shares in lieu of a salary increase. Those shares at this point in time amount to 794,732 and these shares have been handsomely earning for both unions. In 2008 those shares yielded $1,168,256.04. In 2009 it was $128,349.22; in 2010 it was $155,370.11; in 2011 it was 254,314.24; then in 2012 it was $190,975.68 and in 2013 it was $148,383.00. During the UDP administration then, the PSU and the BNTU have collected a tidy $2,045,648.29. What the membership of these unions must now ask themselves, what have they received out of these monies which are collected on a yearly basis?
If the unions are given the power to scrutinize where government gets it finances and what it does with it, shouldn't the membership of the unions place the same call on the union leadership? Just some food for thought.