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Are Belmopan CitCo “redundancies” violating Labour Act?

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Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 5:00 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Twenty-five employees of the Belmopan City Council have been told they will be made redundant in the coming weeks after being sent on paid vacation. Eighteen are members of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU).

It is alleged that these come even as the Council, headed by Mayor Sharon Palacio, has been taking on unnecessary spending with the hiring of relatives in key positions; an alleged trip abroad in August, and the lack of consultation even with fellow City Council members, some of whom allegedly found out about the redundancies via social media.

Further, Belmopan area representative Oscar Mira has been dragged in as an ally of Palacio and accused of irresponsible behaviour himself and through others at the Reconstruction and Development Corporation (RECONDEV), former manager of the City and still an authority as it relates to land issues.

CWU President Evan “Mose” Hyde told us that while they have heard many, and similar, things about the Council’s management, they can only deal with facts.

And the facts, according to him, are these: “Anything that the Council views is its way forward has to be presented to us via a plan; and we have not been the beneficiaries of such a plan. And that is our contention, and that is our cry: that what has happened represents a procedural breach. You can’t just fire 25 people, 18 of whom have a bargaining agent, one, without notifying the bargaining agent, and two, not engaging us with a diagram of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”

Hyde once again appealed to the Council to follow the process and the law: “We have heard a lot of stuff; we are not in the business of responding to those. We are in the business of responding to process; we are in the business of responding where we feel that we have been disrespected, and where it is we feel that we have been wronged, we try to hold the Council accountable. We believe that the Labour Law is very clear on what is required here and so far, that has not been done.”

And he vowed to “fight all the way” for those members until the Council corrects course.

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