The situation between the Port of Belize Limited and the Christian Workers Union has relaxed significantly and both parties have been having regular meetings to chart a way forward. Currently they are in negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the PBL staff. According to the President of the Christian Workers union, Evan Mose Hyde, several issues have been tabled but they continue to remain firm areound the negotiating table. He added that things have been going smoothly so far.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “Everything is kind of preliminary up to this point so we have to agree on a negotiation framework. We have presented proposals, counter proposals and obviously we have identified a list of areas that we’re not seeing eye to eye on and so it’s hard to predict how difficult it’s going to be to resolve. We’re going to try to begin doing that today. It’s being done of course on a very tense backdrop because we maintain as a union that our members, 28 actually since they have rescinded one of those redundancies, were terminated unlawfully and so we’re carrying out that process and that’s still very fresh with us and with our members but we hope to be professional, to be respectful and to be focused to work out a process where we end up with a CBA.”
In the midst of all the fighting between the two parties a few weeks ago, 36 employees were terminated on the grounds of redundancy. This was one of the major issues that the union had expressed their dissatisfaction with. According to Hyde a case has been filed at the Labour Complaints Tribunal, which was established on July 15, and they are currently looking into the case.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “Presently the Labor Complaints Tribunal which is finally now constituted, been constituted for a couple of weeks. They obviously have a lot of preparatory work to do being that this is going to be the first case that they will look at. So it’s really a history making case for the Labor Complaints Tribunal coming into existence and baptism by fire in a way because it’s a very serious case. We have presented all the complaints on behalf of our members to them those are being processed and so all the preparatory work is being done and we would hope that this is a process that gets off the ground very soon.”
Today the CWU went into another negotiation meeting with the hope to finalize the CBA for the Port employees. We will continue to follow this story.