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Labour Department says Christian Workers Union, Port of Belize negotiating

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 10:08 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Labour Department says the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) and Port of Belize Limited are back to the negotiating table as of Wednesday, July 28.

In a statement this evening, it commended both sides, saying “These interactions will continue to be held in the spirit of respect, goodwill, reciprocity, and transparency until the matters are concluded earnestly and swiftly. In this regard, the Labour Department will continue to engage and remain impartial in seeking a resolution of the dispute between the parties. It is in interest of the CWU, the PBL, and the country as a whole to have these matters resolved promptly.”

After the CWU’s notice of industrial action to the Ministry of Labour pursuant to section 15 of the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Services Act, Chapter 298 Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, the Labour Department wrote back advising that it would refer the matter to the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal for determination before the expiration of 21 days. It contacted both sides on July 15 to open dialogue and they met virtually on July 21 to reset the relationship and pave the way for proper negotiations.

The Union’s list of grievances, as displayed in its letter, include “the redundancy package for Stevedores with the move of bulk sugar exports from the Belize City Harbour to the Port of Big Creek, filling of the Container Gangs and a date to resume stalled negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for PBL staff.”

Additionally, Minister of Labour Oscar Requeña met with both sides at their offices in June and on July 21.

There is no indication of whether the Tribunal’s services will be called on, but its membership is listed as William Lindo (chairman, grandson of the late attorney); Fermin Olivera and Wilfredo Galvez (members nominated by the Minister); Marcello Blake, nominated by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Patrick Balan, nominated by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize.

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