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Christian Workers’ Union: Impasse again over Port of Belize staff agreement and sugar switch

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Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 11:24 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: President of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU), Evan “Mose” Hyde, says there is an impasse with the Port of Belize Limited on a collective bargaining agreement with staff, now due for 18 years.

After last year’s tumult, the long-overdue CBA on stevedores was signed but an agreement on staff could not be reached by negotiations or mediation, said Hyde, and the PBL has refused to take up more than one issue at a time.

Separately, BSI/ASR has been moving forward with plans to ship sugar through Big Creek Port, in apparent violation of an agreement signed in 2006.

The Union wrote Prime Minister John Briceño to clarify but has not received a response. There was a meeting with Labour Minister Oscar Requeña as well as his CEO, and the Labour Commissioner has written to PBL for its side of the dispute but has yet to receive a response.

Hyde says the Union is in limbo over the Government’s and the Port’s positions on both issues, especially as it concerns potential loss of revenue and employment for some. There is also a report that some cargo shipments will be shifted south as well.

Hyde says the Union is now feeling cornered by the situation, frozen out of dialogue and out of legal avenues.

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