By Benjamin Flowers: The Christian Workers Union (CWU) has condemned the use of security force officers to take on the jobs of stevedores.
CWU President Evan “Mose” Hyde explained that the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) and the CWU held a meeting yesterday, where they were informed that the Port will not be conceding to their requests in the ongoing negotiations.
The Port then asked the CWU how it will respond and when the stevedores decided on industrial action the PBL made arrangements for soldiers from the Belize Defense Force to come in to load and unload ships.
Hyde maintains that the use of security forces as an intervention in a labour dispute between a private entity, which is in receivership, and its employees sends a message that the state is protecting the interest of private entities.
“Our members understood that they would be losing earnings to take the position that they took yesterday…Now when you decide that you’re going to lean on the state and the state is going to facilitate that, to essentially break the position of the union and the position of our members, then you have left us in a position where you are begging for open conflict,” Hyde said.
And while the stevedores have dispersed to find shelter from the rain, the BDF soldiers remain hard at work in the PBL compound, essentially chipping away at the stevedores’ earnings.