Today, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU) signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Love News was there and spoke with Stephen Yarwood, President of the BCWU who said overall the union is happy with the outcome of the CBA.
Stephen Yarwood, President BCWU: “This year one of the things that we are very proud of is that we have agreed to retirement benefits for staff. So previously this was not within the document but now when a member of staff retires after 20+ years of service to the company he or she gets a retirement package that lasts either five or ten years. We negotiated on benefits, one of these benefits is that the cost of gasoline keeps going up and that is one of the benefit we’ve negotiated an increase to the per mile rate that you are given when you use your personal vehicle. We negotiated a significant increase to the annual compensation that you get for the use of your personal vehicle. One of the things that this executive wanted to do was to leave with a document that is much better than what we started with and I think we achieved that.”
Rochus Schreiber, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BTL said that the signing of the CBA is a significant milestone for the company and its staff.
Rochus Shrieber, CEO, BTL: “The CBA agreement is a great platform on which we can build the future success for BTL and by extension of Belize. Our company is an integral part of the social fabric of Belize and it’s important that such an integral and important part has a good environment for all its members, for all it’s employees and managers. What we have now with this CBA is the framework and the platform that will ensure that the environment continues to be conducive towards success.”
However, not all the staff will be able to benefit from the CBA. Yarwood said that the contract workers are excluded from the benefits that the CBA provides.
Stephen Yarwood, President BCWU: “The CBA document only covers permanent staff but the benefits do extend to contract workers depending on the scope of your contract. But what we did this year was to get the company to agree that after a staff has a tenure of five years with a specific average on his or her appraisal then that contract worker automatically becomes a permanent staff. So that in itself is an achievement because it sets the precedence for us to sit down at the upcoming negotiations and cut down five years to three years.”
The CBA is a three-year contract between BTL and BCWU.