The BNTU this morning also commented on other pressing labour issues promoted by parent body the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), several of whose members were famously ejected from the House of Representatives in December after loudly calling for the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety Bill. Today, Luke Palacio, BNTU president, outlined other initiatives designed to address labour concerns, targeting Social Security.
“We are waiting on when it comes to three areas: 1)The to and from work…the regulations says that you are only covered for Social Security benefits if you are traveling in a transport provided for and by the employer. We know that teachers commute every day and nobody gives us any transport. So we are going to put that at the forefront; we are going to continue that fight along with the Union Congress of Belize”.
Such protection should also extend into the workplace, Palacio contends.
Mr. Luke Palacio: “We also want the Social Security regulations to cover illness that arise out of your work environment. Many of our teachers are suffering with throat problems, and that’s the problem because of chalk dust, and Social Security is saying that that is not related to your work environment. Well, we are going to point out to them that it is”.
And BNTU executive Kathleen Flowers referred to topical issues which the Union is also taking on.
“We want to be respected as social partners that play a role and that have a voice and that can use our voice. So, we have now thought of bringing a public relations image into the matter. Yes, it has always been there, but in the background. That will be our thrust in 2014 and we are hoping to bring everybody along. Hence, we are talking about having a good relationship with the media because we can’t do it by ourselves. So, we are going to put us out there, my brothers and sisters in the media. Please do so in a public, but positive night. Don’t only go so when we dih fight or when we dih quarrel. Show we when we are doing good things as well. You now investigate it as well. Come out to our classrooms and show what teachers are doing everyday”.
We have more from today’s press conference a little later on in this newscast.