Belize City Council and Christian Workers Union Stalled in Collective Bargaining Agreement Talks

Belize City Council and Christian Workers Union Stalled in Collective Bargaining Agreement Talks

Despite months of negotiations, the Belize City Council and the Christian Workers Union are yet to strike a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Since 2020, the parties have been working to come to terms over the agreement’s signing but remain at odds. In recent weeks, the council had met with the CWU and was hoping to strike an agreement before the municipal elections. But that never happened. Today, CWU President Leonora Flowers explained that the union continues to negotiate with the council and explained what the hold-up has been.

Leonora Flowers, President, CWU: “Unfortunately for us it had not been signed and it is still stalled as you say, you like to use those words. Today though we had a meeting with the mayor, three of his councilors and three employees along with their attorney and so we’re moving incrementally albeit slow but we’re hoping to move forward. We’re anticipating a response from them by next week as to when we’ll have another meeting. 

Reporter: Are there any major points of contention you’ll be able to speak about ? 

Leonora Flowers, President, CWU: “It’s no secret that the council wants to use a document that has not been effected into law and so a prudent union will not allow that to happen so that is the pullback of moving this whole process. They were able to field their team today and we were able to sit and have a dialogue with them so I don’t think the acting or missing CA confirmed at the moment is a real issue. I don’t think that’s fundamental to moving forward. It’s agreeing on principle what should be concluding in the CBA, a document that has not been brought into law or effected which the council seeks to want to rely on and of course CWU cannot allow that to.”

Flowers says that while the union is willing to accept some aspects of the agreement, it is vehemently against portions of the proposal.  

Leonora Flowers, President, CWU: “I’ve been asking from other unions across the country if it’s been used, it’s not been used by anyone only the Belize City Council wants to put it forward but it has not been brought into force. It is not a part of any document put on us or given to the country by the Labour Department so we don’t want to have the Labour Laws superceded by any other document or our CBA superceded by something else. We’re looking at the Labour Laws and then the CBA but they’re having a problem with that. In this last document there are some things in it that can be used as policy – employers have different policies but in this last CBA they tried to put it in there with references directly from that document and saying we will go by that document. If you go by anything we want you to go by the CBA or refer to the Labour Law not by I’d like to say an outside document.”

Reporter: So if I recall correctly that would have been circulated to the union a few months before the municipal elections.

Leonora Flowers, President, CWU: “It has been circulated to the union years ago and we had input, CWU had input on it. We sat with our members and we said this is what is says but they never accepted any of our recommendations or suggestions it remained as is and they want to bring it back in the CBA as is with its references. We cannot have that and we were able though to impress upon the Mayor and his councilors that that for us is a sticking point and so we’re gonna go back into discussions to see how we can mesh the two parties.”

The parties meet next week to continue negotiations.

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