Compensation Delay for Stevedores: Opposition Leader Urges Action After Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal Ruling
The Leader of the Opposition also took issue with the fact that stevedores have still not been compensated following the ruling of the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal (ESAT). Barrow stressed that the ESAT’s ruling was clear that the stevedores were entitled to compensation after their services became redundant and the handling of sugar shipments was relocated to the port in Big Creek. Barrow says he hopes that, with the government acquisition of the port, the situation will be addressed.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I have been speaking about this since May, April of this year when the stevedores, the Christian Workers Union were facing their difficulties and their challenges with the ex-gratia payment frozen and a government, a Briceno government that refused to enforce the tribunal’s decision that the CWU, the stevedores were in fact redundant and there should be some type of settlement made with them that needed to be worked out. That was the decision of the tribunal which was final it was now the CWU’s responsibility to go to the high court and litigate the matter that’s why you have a tribunal and when both parties submit to the tribunal what the tribunal says is final and the government refused to intervene and enforce the decision of the tribunal. Now that the government owns the port and they have appointed their board I pray that this is number one on the priority list to ensure that the ESAT decision is enforced and the stevedores who the Prime Minister claimed this is the reason why we are acquiring the port, we are purchasing the port with the tax payers dollars was because he loved the stevedores so much. The stevedores need their settlement for redundancy for the sugar going to Big Creek according to the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal.”
The ESAT was established in July of 2021 to deliberate and make a ruling on the dispute between the stevedores and the Port of Belize as repeated negotiations to secure a redundancy package had failed. The ESAT handed down its ruling in January 2022 but had to be reconvened back in June this year, as there were still unresolved issues between the parties.