Labor Commissioner updates on negotiations with Belize Energy Workers Union

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Updated: August 24, 2015

The Ministry of Labor has been assisting in the negotiations between the Belize Energy Workers Union, BEWU, and the Belize Electricity Limited, BEL. As we have reported, members of the union are unhappy and are asking for an eight percent increase. Minister of Labor Godwin Husle met with both parties on August 7 but since then the President of the BEWU, Marvin Mora, says they have not received any update from BEL. Today we spoke to Mora and the Labor Commissioner, Ivan Williams on the matter.

Marvin Mora – President, BEWU

“One of the things that we have seen happening over the past days is that we have not received any updates coming from the ministry as to his proposal that he made on the table for BEL man agent and board to consider. We are awaiting word from them as to whether or not that was accepted, what was accepted so that we can be able to quantify and present that to our membership for their approval as well. If that is done in a timely manner then we could resolve this issue probably in the next couple weeks but if either management or the ministry keeps dragging their foot on the issue they have to remember that the union itself has its own mechanisms that we’d have to activate in order to have some sort of agreement coming from the membership and that in itself would take time so meanwhile the grass is growing that horse is there. “

 Ivan Williams – Labour Commissioner

” I was on leave I am now back and my understanding is that much progress has been made and there is a general consensus among the parties in terms of having a resolution to the problem and we should see some move toward that and have some closure in respect of the difference.”

Hipolito Novelo – Love FM News

When do you foresee that happening?

Ivan Williams – Labour Commissioner

“Well again like I told you it’s a dynamic process and we are hoping that the parties will show and they are showing a level of compromise and flexibility and that will speak for itself in terms of how quick the parties can have a resolution of their differences.”

BEL said negotiations with the union began on November 4, 2014. The negotiations entered into mediation on June 26, 2015 by the Labour Commissioner after the BEL and BEWU negotiating teams were unable to arrive at an agreement on the negotiation of salaries and benefits for the revised Partnership Collective Agreement.