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Christian Workers Union slams Government of Belize on change to essential services law

Posted: Monday, December 21st, 2015. 9:46 p.m. CST

CWU maturaBy Aaron Humes: The Christian Workers Union, as expected, is not in agreement that stevedores provide an essential service to the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) with their unloading and loading of cargo.

The move to make them so, primarily to require 21 days’ notice of industrial action – which to be fair is required of management as well – is in their view, heartless and high handed and a case of the Goverment siding with the big people. CWU president Audrey Matura-Shepherd lamented that, in her belief, politics has played a role in the decision.

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So what can they do, if anything at all? Matura-Shepherd says they will continue negotiating the collective bargaining agreement but does not expect it to happen overnight and sees it being an uphill battle. She is however, hopeful that by next year this time, a new CBA will be signed.

Matura-Shepherd also says Government could legislate benefits for workers like the stevedores who do not work up to 1 hundred 80 days per year. Additionally, she says government should look into why since 2004 attempts to sign a CBA have been frustrated.

She also questioned why the Government has not re-nationalized the port.

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