Friday, September 18, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: On the heels of a strongly worded press release indicating how much they were blindsided by Monday’s bombshell news of a settlement between the alliance of former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and the Government of Belize, members of the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU) were protesting in down town Belize City today, walking along Albert and Regent Street between the two BTL offices located on Regent and Church Streets respectively.
The release strongly criticizes the “gross disrespect” of being kept out of negotiations, which hurts almost as much as the price tag for the deal. They question the security of their jobs, bonuses, the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed last year and other outstanding issues and say of the company’s behaviour that, quote, “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.”
But that’s about all they will say for now, according to Union president Michael Augustus and general secretary Lianne Bardalez. Augustus says they want to further discuss the issue with workers and will limit their comments to what they have already said.
Augustus contends that the staff are behind the BCWU executive who organized today’s protest. He declined to comment on any suggestion that there is discontent with BTL Executive Chairman Anwar Barrow, which the release singles out for failing to inform the Union of the deal during his Monday meeting with them.
From the point of view of the PUP, the unions appear troubled by their relationship with the Government. Leader Francis Fonseca told us this morning before the noon protest that the party has been meeting with the unions and others with gripes against the Government to hear their concerns.