In April, the Ministry of Education decided that it would dock the salaries of hundreds of teachers who off a day from regular school to attend an anti-crime rally in the city of Belmopan on March 22nd which was organized by their union, the Belize National Teacher’s Union. The news was very unwelcome to Union leaders, for the rally was a positive initiative to take a stand against crime. Today, firebrand Union President Elena Smith shared with the media that in response to the move by the Ministry, they are calling on their teachers to discontinue the contributions they pay, out of generosity, to assist school managements.

Screen_Shot_2018-05-08_at_7.56.00_PMElena Smith, President Belize National Teachers Union

“That is true we had a meeting where we had managers and ministry were present and we were informed by management that they had a meeting where it had been about three or some weeks ago and at that meeting most of them decide that they would be docking pay for that day but the reason for that they didn’t give us any but we were told they would be docking salaries so those managements who have decided that they will be docking salaries, the teachers have decided that they would discontinue any contribution to those managements whether is to the management directly or to the church for that management that those contributions will no longer be sent to them for a prolong period of time. They have not said to us which managements will be docking or which ones would not, we have been informed and we have not gotten anything in writing we were only told that at a meeting where they were present and it came from the managers themselves so I don’t think that there is any reason why we should go out there because they told us that. Secondly, we heard that a few of the managements have made the decision that they be not be docking and we are aware based on teachers feedback that Nazarene is one such management that will not be docking salaries, for sure the Catholics they were the first ones who informed that salaries will be docked so we are aware of that for sure, and for Nazarene not docking and the others we are not sure who will and will not be.”


And government Schools

Elena Smith, President Belize National Teachers Union

“We have not gotten anything official to say they will or they will not we know however that all management send out similar letters to schools before the rally to say that based on education rules that managements have the option to dock on salaries. That decision was not made, we have not determined for how long a period those deductions will discontinue and so until the teachers feel that they want to continue that deduction then that will be done but for now that will be stopped, if possible as of May because we know depending on how they pay so if possible starting May and it continue for a period of time.

Smith indicated that the contributions paid to schools by teachers are not mandatory but simply a goodwill gesture to assist in meeting some expenses. According to the BNTU President, not all school managements have confirmed that they will dock salaries. The Catholic management is one, however, that has indicated that they will be taking a day’s work out of salaries.

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