AARON HUMES Reporting: One of Belize’s largest employers, Bowen and Bowen Limited, is embroiled in labour trouble tonight.
Earlier this week, 13 delivery truck drivers raised concerns with new contracts offered to them by the bottling giant, who distributes Coca Cola, Crystal Water and Fruit Beverages, Belikin and Lighthouse Beer and Guinness among other brands.
They were told that they would receive 27% more pay but commissions on sales were sharply cut and workers’ overtime was eliminated.
They are expected to deliver on contracted sales for the company and officially promoted to supervisors. But this group chose to take one day sick day off on Wednesday, communicating this to the employers.
As a result, they were terminated and today they went to the Bowen worksite on Slaughterhouse Road and were turned away.
Group spokespersons Kevin Garbutt and John Gabourel say the new contract is a step backward for them and point out that they were not properly consulted by management.
They even sought advice from the Labour Department to no avail. Gabourel says they were presented the contract, take it or leave it, at the end of a tiring day and had asked for more time to consider the matter.
Now without a job, Gabourel says the company should not be allowed to dictate conditions to its employees.
The company has already found replacements for the group, and says that deserted their posts by their actions this week.
The group now says it will seek legal advice, though they do not expect to get their jobs back.
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