By Aaron Humes: Keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s contretemps on the waterfront, Cabinet has directed Labour Commissioner Ann-Marie Thompson through Labour Minister Oscar Requeña, to “extend all efforts to mediate a successful outcome” in the deliberations between the CWU [Christian Workers’ Union] and PBL [Port of Belize Limited].
A preliminary meeting was scheduled for today, Wednesday, after the Union invoked 21 days’ notice under the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Services Act of industrial action against the Port last week.
CWU President Evan “Mose” Hyde wrote Requeña, Thompson, and PBL among others, to intervene to settle its disputes with PBL, which it said had ignored its every request to meet.
The Union is seeking a conclusion to a collective bargaining agreement for staff workers of the Port, some 35 of whom were let go last year.
It also wants a definitive answer as to whether the Government will allow PBL and Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) to ignore a 2006 memorandum of understanding with Big Creek Port as to not allowing the former to export sugar from the southern port, at great cost to PBL itself and stevedores.
A Cabinet statement said the Labour Commissioner will meet with the parties to develop a protocol on how the talks will proceed.