Talks between BEWU and BEL breaks down

By
Updated: September 4, 2015

The Belize Energy Workers Union has written a letter to Labor Minister, Godwin Hulse. In that letter, the President of the union, Marvin Mora expresses appreciation to Hulse for his attempt to solve the differences between the union members and Belize Electricity Limited. Mora writes quote, “However, we are now of the view that we have come full circle in this diplomatic process with your intervention. It is now clear to us, as it should be to you that BEL has been out rightly disrespectful to your office and towards your team’s contribution in this mediation process. It should also be absolutely clear by now to you, as it is to us, that BEL has been nothing but inflexible while the Union has bend backwards more than it should in the interest of moving the process forward”, end of quote. Mora continues and states, quote, “ We also bring to your attention that the members of the Union hold firmly to the belief that we are now way past calling the 21 days’ notice, with intention to strike as required by the law”, end of quote. Minister of Labor Godwin Hulse says that the negotiations were going well.

Godwin Hulse – Minister of Labour

“Actually the union is a bit frustrated because they think the process is slow but our Ministry and I in particular have been working this process on both sides, we’ve had almost ten meetings in the midst of everything we have to do. We’ve already spoken with the union and gotten them to temper that mode and to say to them that they cannot walk away and it cannot be that industrial action is the alternative. We’ve also spoken with BEL and indeed while I was in the senate I got a note from the CEO of BEL who is leaving the country today, a note which I passed onto my CEO. I can’t comment on it yet because I haven’t read it in its entirety but it’s to continue the process. If both parties abandon or one or another party abandons then under the essential services act it gives the minister the responsibility and the right, if he determines that mediation has not worked to appoint a tribunal for arbitration. I have not yet determined that mediation has not worked in fact I think it is working, we are making little steps and we are making steps but we will not quit because this is a matter than we can resolve, should resolve and must resolve so that’s basically where we are.

Reporter

“So the unions sent you a long letter have they backed off the hardline that they took in that letter?

Godwin Hulse – Minister of Labour

“I can’t say they have backed off the hardline, I won’t speak yet for that. I have not received any counter letter and I don’t want to prejudice the intents of the executive of the union with their membership who will be seeing this broadcast but only to say that I have spoken to the executives, I’ve spoken to the president himself and I know my CEO has spoken to Mr. Mora and we are urging through this medium especially for the workers to have some patience we will resolve this matter. There is a lot of common ground and we know that there is a feeling of frustration but let us say that we want to make sure that this is resolved properly and there is no need for industrial action. I can assure them that on Monday morning we will be again on it as we have been for the past weeks and over ten different meetings combined between the two parties.”

Reporter

“In the letter the union said that BEL was disrespectful to your office, do you hold the same position was it something that you notice in the negotiations.”

Godwin Hulse – Minister of Labour

“That stems from a press release that BEL management had put out during the time we were talking with the union and we have spoken to BEL management on that matter, they assert that because the employees although members of the union are also their employees they have a right to inform their employees there is a little difference in opinion there but we’ll leave it at that for the time being.”

Hulse does not believe that the Belize Energy Workers Union will resort to industrial action.