Thursday, February 12, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and Social Security Board (SSB) remain at odds over the appointment of Floyd Neal, General Secretary of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU), to the Board as a union representative.
The Board, led by chairman Doug Singh, maintains that this is a conflict of interest as it relates to CWU matters being discussed at the Board level, particularly with regards to collective bargaining for the Union’s members.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow told reporters yesterday that that opinion is buttressed by legal opinion and he is at this point confident in that opinion.
According to the Prime Minister he still holds out hope for the matter to be settled as it is disrupting the flow of business of the Board, the NTUCB having decided to boycott meetings of the Board until Neal is installed.
If the NTUCB obtains a legal opinion that is sufficiently convincing to him, he says, he would reconsider.
Today we got a response from Marvin Mora, NTUCB president, who says that the Congress’ General Council met last night and approved obtaining that legal opinion.
However, he said, the congress has not changed its views about what conflict of interest means. Neal can easily step aside and allow an alternate to sit when collective agreement issues with SSB employees, such as the ongoing battle over changes to employee bonuses and performance evaluation, are discussed.
Mora told us that contrary to the Prime Minister’s view that the conflict is not personal, positioning Neal on the Board does offer the SSB practical benefits and a voice for the workers, not only of SSB, but the many others which the CWU represents.
The NTUCB is not considering a replacement for Neal out of respect to the CWU’s opportunity to be represented.
Mora told us that the General Council will make a decision as to how to address future meetings of the SSB Board as union representation is necessary to make quorum.
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