If the government’s invitation to the unions for a meeting tomorrow turns out to unfavorable, it still may not mean the end of the unions’ fight. Tonight, there is a new development as the Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU) says it is prepared to withhold the supply of electricity for consumers, if it comes to that. A release was issued last week expressing support to the unions, and calling the Government of Belize to return to the negotiating table with mediation. The release goes on to empathize with the unions on the salary cuts while lashing the government on the allowances they currently enjoy as ministers and elected officials. The two-paragraph document notes, quote, “we are a very responsible union, and as providers of one of, if not the most essential services to this nation, we strongly believe we are saddled with a huge responsibility. For this reason we are voicing our concerns to both parties and to the public at large. We are resolved in ensuring that those whom we elected comply with the mandate for and by the people. In this light we assure those whom we serve that we will do all we can to ensure withholding our sercices is the very last ghing we do;but if we reach to the poing where we must take action we will not hesitate for the good of our nation.” End of quote. They are powerful words as all residents stand to be affected if the BEWU decides to pull the plug on the supply of electricity. Late this evening, Love News spoke with the Acting General Secretary, Marvin Mora who says while he has not had the green light from the union to speak on its behalf, and so he doing the extra-official duties to explain that the current release circulating is merely a draft and not the final document.
Marvin Mora, Acting General Secretary: “The release that you have is actually one of our drafts. We have about three drafts that we were currently working on and that one was sent to the general membership for approval. For the record that has not been approved yet by the general membership which at our union is a must. If our membership does not approve a release of that nature that release will not be sent officially by the union. So a position is still uncertain. Second the Belize Energy Workers Union understands some of the issues that are being played out there and the impacts it will have on the general membership and the country. For that reason that is being brought to the membership’s attention for the membership to decide the way forward. Now let me say in regards to strike, and I have to be very clear here. In the past I’ve stated it as president when I was the president of the CWU, the current president and the current membership of CWU will always be of the same opinion. We are a very responsible union and if it comes to the point where we have to strike you best assure that before we reach to that point the Belize Energy Workers Union would have exhausted all other avenues and we would be sure that there is absolutely no other option but to proceed with a strike. Now we would not be irresponsible to spring that upon our customers and workers of Belize Electricity Limited. Eventually we’re hoping that things will start to look positively between the parties that are embattled in this discussion between the joint unions and the government. We are offering recommendations obviously one of them is that they should seek mediation and the reason why we’re making that recommendation is because we have been there before.”
Mora says that by the end of the week the BEWU should have a final decision on their way forward. Meanwhile, in other union news Members of the Belize Communication Worker Union participated in internal elections on Saturday. *(BEWU-BECU VO STARTS)* Sixty-four members voted to choose Jermaine Williams as their President; Mark Gladden as Vice President; Jacqueline Hernandez as the General Secretary; Tamara Munnings-Ramsey as the Assistant General Secretary; Victor Hernandez as the Treasurer and Shawn Moreira and Said Ayuso as the new trustees.