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Public Service Union responds to Labour Commissioner: “You should be doing your job”

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Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2021. 12:06 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Yesterday the Labour Commissioner, Ann Marie Thompson condemned the unions currently on strike against the Government of Belize calling their actions “harmful and reckless.” Today, the Public Service Union (PSU) responded to the Labor Commissioner’s condemnation by saying that she should be more concerned with doing her job, which they say she is approaching with “gross incompetence” at this time.

The PSU said that it was glad that Thompson respected the unions’ right to industrial action, but called on her to lead by example and start showing greater respect to all workers across Belize by ensuring that the Labour Complaints Tribunal is functioning and providing a fair and impartial appeal process for workers arising from complaints of unfair dismissal or wrongful terminations in accordance with the Labour Act, Chapter 297 of the Laws of Belize.

“The neglect of workers’ rights to a fair, impartial, and timely appeal process as a result of negligence and gross incompetence by the Labour Commissioner and the Ministry of Labor, is the greatest disrespect to the rights of others, and especially workers, that the Labour Commissioner should instead be addressing at this time.”

The PSU also said that Thompson and the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government has failed to refer the PSU’s Trade Dispute with the Government filed on April 12th, 2021, to the Labour Dispute Tribunal in accordance with the law. The union stressed that the Tribunal should have convened within 21 days of the dispute being registered; however, it has gone 37 days without being registered.

“The PSU believes that the Labour Commissioner has her priorities confused and therefore advises the Labour Commissioner to focus her energies towards the improvement of services to workers of this country, compliance with the Labour Laws by the Ministry of Labour, and in making the working environment within the Ministry of Labour more conducive and appealing to Public Officers,” the PSU added.

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