Friday, September 18, 2015. BMG: Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) employees expressed their disgust with government over the recent settlement with Lord Michael Ashcroft in a scathing release, in which they condemn GOB for being no better than the People’s United Party (PUP) government when things came to a head in 2005.
According to the release issued by the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU), employees were stunned by the announcement on Monday that the hostile relationship between the Ashcroft Group and the Dean Barrow Administration had changed overnight to one of rapprochement, unbeknownst to the people of Belize, the employees of the company and the Union.
The union says they were even more surprised because that morning they had met with BTL Chairman of the Executive Committee Anwar Barrow and he never gave the slightest hint of the decision. The union characterized the omission as a “gross disrespect”, and said it goes beyond anything they experienced under the Musa Administration.
According to the union, the latest chapter in the BTL saga is deja-vu and the script has remained the same. They listed the similarities; secret meetings involving only two or three people on GOB’s behalf, total secrecy of meetings, indifference to employees who have a vested interest in the company, the high cost of the settlement plus the running $162 price tag, the rush to pass the legislation and the intentional refusal to extend courtesy to the union for consultation.
The union added that they have endured great disrespect under this government but have remained silent for the sake of maintaining a healthy industrial relations climate. They claim the secret deal was done to enrich UDP lawyers and speculate that campaign financing must have factored in the secret meetings.
The union added that there is no difference between the UDP and the PUP and that both parties have failed the Belizean public. The union also questioned the security of their jobs, bonuses, and their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). They added there are still many workers issues to be resolved including health issues, issues with management and the disrespect they show towards the union.
“The company executives have not acted in good faith towards the union’s executive because they never advise and consult us on matters that affect our members and other employees in our bargaining unit. There is a weird feeling that this is 2005 all over with a little more sophistication,” the release ended.
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