Stevedores out at the Port of Belize continue to protest on Caesar Ridge Road. The protest began yesterday morning, carried through last night and continues up to news time tonight. President of the Christian Workers Union, Evan Mose Hyde says that despite their protest they are yet to hear from BSI/ASR or from Santander Group.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “Well nothing has changed in so far as what we feel prompted us to take the stand. There have been no remedies offered, there’s been no communication effort to communicate or make contact from anyone from any entity whether it be the management here or labor department or the government. there’s been nothing. There’s just been a consolidation of our belief that we are going to stay the course and we have been staying the course through the day and through the night and now another day. We are not in the business of watching the calendar right now my brother with all respect. We’re not watching the clock, we are just eyes on the things that we want to have resolved and until they are resolved we believe that our members are committed to stay the course. We have approximately a hundred and fifty stevedores and throughout the day and the night we have the coming and going of our members. I would say that to this point I’ve probably seen definitely in excess of a hundred of our members at some point in time holding solidarity and essentially the reason why they are so committed is because the implications, the financial implications, which are extreme. About approximately 1/3 of our members would be rendered unemployed and the other members would be affected to the tune of about 40 percent of their annual earnings, when we put a calculator to that we are looking at about just south of two million dollars Belize that they will lose collectively, that this community will lose so that is the nightmare that they are faced with.”
Hyde says they have expressed their concerns to the Port of Belize Limited but they have not been addressed. He added that jointly, the stevedores stand to lose up to two million dollars in wages and that from the looks of things, the stevedores have about three more sugar jobs left for this year before the sugar loading begins to take place at the Big Creek Port in the south.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “We have brought our concerns to PBL as employer for one failing to properly communicate or to communicate any at all with our members where we are with that and it has forced us to have to go on a wild goose chase to find the answers. Secondly we protest because we believe that the fact that ASR is contemplating or in our belief has made a determination to go eventually to Big Creek – because we believe that what will take place is that there is some three boats that will come our way for the 2020 season and we call that the farewell tour for sugar and then thereafter they go to Big Creek. We believe that that is the result of the negligence. and the failure of PBL management to have invested to have been involved and engaged to have a care in the plight of its workforce and what the implications are if they were not investing the kind of money to keep a company like ASR bringing its sugar through PBL. But beyond that we see this as a national issue beyond the perimeter of labor difference, between employers and the PBL management and ownership. We see it as a national calamity with a hundred and fifty hard-working Belizeans from out of the community that can least afford further social economic erosion to be looking squarely in the eye of something as calamitous as this. So that is why we believe that you can be technical and say ASR is a private company which we need to mention that we do have a Government representative on the board but let us say that you’re right that Santander and ASR as multinational billion-dollar global companies can become romantically involved in the team or looking to see how they can maximize profits and that’s what companies do, we believe that we have a moral right to stand and do our best to preserve our very survival.”
Love News understands that Dr Carla Barnett, Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour is in meeting with the Labour Department on this issue. We will have an update for you in tomorrow’s newscast.