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Feb 25, 2015

Minister Heredia on P.G.I.A. Shutdown

It shook the tourism industry this past Saturday when air traffic controllers at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, called in sick and did not show up to work to land planes and prepare them for departure. The Civil Aviation Department with support from COCESNA and former air traffic controllers, were able to get flights up and running within five hours, but by then two international flights were rerouted and one canceled. The employees absented themselves from the job because they were dissatisfied with working conditions, faulty equipment and the lack of human resources which has forced them to work double shifts. The air traffic controllers returned to work on Tuesday morning, but Minister of Civil Aviation, Manuel Heredia says that the incident has hurt the country significantly.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Civil Aviation

“We didn’t know that there was a real issue because there was no bargaining, no negotiation with these employees and having spoken to them when a rumor appeared, they said that everything was fine except for other minor things that didn’t have to do with civil aviation. It is more promotions and so which have to go through the ministry of the public service. But I must say openly that it created a black-eye on Belize; the confidence with the airlines in the country and the airlines. This is not about a small group, this is not about a political party; this is about Belize – the bread and butter of the majority of people that have to do with this industry. So I see it irresponsible and negligent on the part of my employees. I’ve always had an open door with my employees telling them that if there are problems with my director or my C.E.O., they can always come to this minister and I will definitely listen. Of the fourteen flights, only United canceled their flights totally. All the other flights were here and everybody was almost transported to their destinations except, if I am not wrong, two persons that stayed. There were nineteen, the other seventeen managed to get on their airlines and go to their destinations. So we are very thankful for the cooperation of the COCESNA group and Mister Coye that works over there. He is always on hand and he is witness to say that he tried to call these people on their phones and nobody answered. Everybody reported sick – very strange. But nonetheless, there are dialogues with these people and we are hoping that everything could come back to normal.”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Duane Moody

“Will these employees face any kind of disciplinary action?”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“I am not saying that everything is fine, but I am saying that we will negotiate and we will investigate. But with me, I am not saying this one will be fired or the other, because I don’t know the circumstances. But what I am saying is that within my ministry, if there is negligence on the part of anyone, I have to deal with the issue. You cannot have people that are negligible in working with any institution and particularly my concern has always been the safety of the people, the safety of the passengers, the safety of the industry. And I have made it clear, when it comes to safety, there is not negotiation when it comes to safety.”

 

A meeting between the Civil Aviation Department and the air traffic controllers is scheduled for Thursday.

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1 Response for “Minister Heredia on P.G.I.A. Shutdown”

  1. CEO says:

    Employees never leave their place of employment in protest for no good reason!

    Instead of using the monies from the airport to bury the deceased family members of elected officials the money should be used to replace and upgrade equipment, provide continuing education for employees and the like.

    They did not do anything to ‘hurt Belize’. Mr. Heredia and his puppets are the ones who exhibited poor leadership and created a negative work environment where dissatisfaction of the employees fell on deaf ears.

    Can anyone name one segment of the Belize Government that runs with minimum drama?

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