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Ministry of Labour re-establishes essential services arbitration tribunal

Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2023. 1:38 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Minister of Labour Oscar Requena has received a letter dated June 9, 2023 from the Christian Workers Union (CWU) invoking a 21-day notice to institute industrial action against the Port of Belize Limited.

The Union stated, “Despite various attempts, including the involvement of your Ministry, there remains a live trade dispute between Christian Workers Union and Port of Belize Limited. This dispute stems from Port of Belize Limited refusal to abide by the Tribunal’s Award directing that parties forthwith engage in negotiations to determine the terms of payment under the March 6, 2020 agreement.”

In July 2021, the CWU reported to the minister a trade dispute, including the matter of the redundancy package for stevedores.

The minister, in accordance with sections 11 and 12 of the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Services Act, referred the said dispute to the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal for settlement.

The Ministry says that having heard and determined the matter, the tribunal handed down its award in January 2022.  The reported dispute in the Union’s letter dated June 9, 2023, is on the same basis as the dispute reported in 2021.

Therefore, on June 23, 2023, the ministry re-established the Essential Services Arbitration Tribunal and the matter stated in the union’s letter dated June 9, 2023 has been referred to the tribunal for a decision on any questions as to the interpretation of the award in accordance with Section 14 of the aforementioned act.

Members of the tribunal include:

Attorney William A. Lindo, Chairman (Government’s Representative)

Fermin Olivera (Government’s Representative)

Wilfredo Galvez (Government’s Representative)

Marcello Blake (Employers’ Representative)

Hubert Enriquez (Workers’ Representative)

The Ministry says that the tribunal will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in Belize City.

The ministry further encouraged all parties involved to continue to engage in constructive dialogue in order to resolve this matter in a peaceful and lawful manner.

The ministry says that it is confident that the tribunal will provide a fair and impartial decision that will benefit all parties concerned. 


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