Monday, April 28, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: Following on from the conclusion earlier this month of negotiations between Belize’s state-run telecommunications company, Belize Telemedia Limited, and the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU) on a collective bargaining agreement which we are told was 15 years in the making, today the two sides put pen to paper in Belize City.
Chairman of BTL’s Executive Committee, Anwar Barrow, said the agreement represents a positive step forward for union-management relations, which he admits have not always been the best.
Moreover, he said, it is a commitment to the future of the company which is represented in its employees. They can now work harder, he said, knowing that they are working for the best company in Belize.
Union President Leann Bardalez noted that the agreement, which sets out a pay increase of 4% retroactive to last October, increased benefits and pension investment and free Digicell 4G for 500 staff members countrywide, gives incentive for other companies to recognize and work with trade unions.
She expressed her hope that other companies and organizations will see the value of having a union in their midst, as unions are there not to confront, she said, but to cooperate and consult.
Barrow told the press that he was not fazed by the demonstration of solidarity among union members a few weeks ago. But how does this affect the company’s bottom line and its competition with local rivals SMART and cheaper foreign-based entities?
He explained that the company had a care for its performance, and has made a commitment to enforcing the agreement, which lasts four years.
Barrow declined to give exact figures for the salary adjustment, making it unclear how much this will cost the company.
The agreement was witnessed by Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams.
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