Christian Workers Union and Port of Belize Resume Negotiations
The Christian Workers Union and the Port of Belize Limited are back at the negotiating table after they met with the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal (ESAT). Yesterday, just three days before the CWU’s 21-day notice of Industrial Action came to an end, the parties were called before the ESAT. The CWU has previously stated that their move was sparked by the PBL’s refusal to abide by the ESAT’s ruling made 16 months ago. The CWU says the tribunal awarded the union a redundancy package for Stevedores, but they are yet to receive such incentives. The union’s President, Leonora Flowers, explained that both parties have now submitted new proposals that will be used to continue negotiations.
Leonora Flowers, President, CWU: “After both parties gave their positions we were asked to provide submissions, which we are going to do, our attorney is going to provide submissions in 14 days and their attorney is going to provide their submission in 14 days and we come back to the tribunal for the chair of the tribunal and his team to review those and the date has been set in early August for the next tribunal to sit and discuss and provide us with a response. We will have our attorneys provide those submissions and as it relates to trying the matter, as it relates to go back and get a response from the tribunal our attorneys will inform us. What we will do, we will go back to our members immediately and as everyone knows we take instruction from our members who are the most important persons in this regard. So we go back to the stevedores and we tell them what the tribunal has ruled. In the first instance we think the minister waited too long, way too long, to attempt or to convene the tribunal three days before the expiration that’s way off base and CWW is looking at that seriously. It is, it is indeed an attempt to shut us down.”
Darrell Bradley, one of the union’s attorneys, explained that the CWU believes the tribunal’s initial ruling should have been final and adhered to.
Darrel Bradley, Attorney: “The CWU has been acting in good faith. The CWU came before the tribunal and a decision was made 16 months ago and the law says, as you’ve asked, the law says that decision is final and what our position is, is that if that decision is final then the decision has to be complied with. So one of the things that is very important is that the stevedores are approaching this and the Christian Workers Union are approaching this decision in a very mature and sober way. We have waited, or the Christian Workers Union has waited 16 months for enforcement and their position is not to take it in any confrontational way they came back before the tribunal.”