CWU President says both the PBL and GOB have failed the union
And from the battle over the CWU’s strike to their ex-gratia payout that has been frozen for over a year. In May last year, the Supreme Court granted the PBL an interim injunction to prevent the Christian Workers Union (CWU) from disbursing GOB’s $1.5-million ex-gratia payment. The PBL filed for the injunction because it claims GOB did not seek authorization from the National Assembly to obtain the funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The injunction was granted, but CWU had already disbursed an estimated 1.1 million dollars of the payout by that time. According to the CWU’s President Evan “Mose” Hyde, the case now goes to trial in July.
Mose Hyde, President, CWU: “This case today is what you would call an effort from our legal team to essentially wrap this up and to say listen this should not go to trial because of the grounds on which we are arguing. Now if it is that the judge does not see that then you go into a full trial on that issue and simultaneously the same judge is going to be hearing the matter of the injunction which had been left by the previous judge. All this is going on though there are still unresolved issues between PBL and CWU on the matter of complying with the tribunal’s ruling and we have in the past couple of weeks made our concerns on that account known to the prime minister’s office and to the Ministry of Labor and we will publicly say that our members have acted as they have always done in good faith. We have done our part, we feel that PBL has failed and we also feel that the Government of Belize has failed and we have expressed that to them and trust me we are, it’s like there is, this we are under siege as you have put it, we are under siege for over a year but we are not so under siege that we are not able to fight and we want them to know that. We want PBL to know that and we want the government of Belize to know that.”
Hyde says that the CWU’s battle with the PBL in court is not the only issue it has at this time. According to him, the parties are still not able to settle on terms that were laid out in last year’s ruling by the Essential Services Tribunal.
Mose Hyde, President, CWU: “On the most significant aspect of the tribunal’s ruling which was that we were supposed to negotiate out a payment for our members PBL has refused to engage in that process. And that is the most outstanding matter that the tribunal ruled on. We have written them and they have indicated that they will not and so we have now written to the office of the Prime Minister and we have met with the Minister of Labor to express that and put that on the record. The implications of this is that this is our- attorneys have expressed to us how they view the implications and whatever ruling comes out of this that you cannot accept it we don’t anticipate and it’s not in their history of behavior to accept rulings at the Supreme Court. So this is potentially a high potential exists for this matter to go further. We don’t expect them to stop because we understand the game that they are playing. We understand why they have brought the litigation against us, we understand the way they are trying to use a leverage on top of stevedores and CWU in their the rich man game that they are fighting. We understand what is going on this is not just some oh they are concerned about our due process or they are concerned about the MOU no. They have a bigger plan going on and because of that we don’t anticipate that even if we are able to prevail in this particular trial that they are then going to call it off at that point in time.”