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Jul 22, 2015

Minister of Labor Calls on B.E.W.U. on Day 3 of Protest

Just about an hour before taking to the streets on the final day of a series of protests which began on Monday, BEWU President Marvin Mora received a telephone call from Minister of Labor Godwin Hulse.  The conversation was essentially a request for the Belize Energy Workers Union to make a presentation to Hulse in the wake of a recent breakdown in negotiations between the trade union and the principals of Belize Electricity Limited.  The collapse in collective bargaining ended with the matter going to mediation, where the BEWU has expressed a complete lack of confidence in Labor Commissioner Ivan Williams, who they claim is seeking electoral office on the U.D.P. ticket.  So, while a handful of employees lined up for the routine picketing of B.E.L.’s corporate headquarters at midday, Mora was tasked with the responsibility of informing the wider membership of the union about the proposal on the table.

 

Marvin Mora, President, BEWU

“The Minister of Labor in the person of Honorable Godwin Hulse has made a call to the union about an hour ago and he is requesting that the union make a presentation to him about our issues in negotiation and probably he could bridge that gap and have the matter resolved, you know.  The union has to consider that.  That call has not been communicated to all the members right about now but we hope that in the next half an hour or the next hour we should be able to pass that on to the members of the union in an effort to get a consensus.  That’s basically it.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“You mentioned earlier this week that there was a breakdown in negotiations and you cited a lack of confidence in the Labor Commissioner.  What clout do you believe the minister has that the Labor Commissioner doesn’t have in terms of mediating this issue?”

 

Marvin Mora

Marvin Mora

“Well the decisions that have to be taken by the company actually, in a sense, are decisions that would, quote on quote, have to be supported by the owner of the company which is the government.  Having to address this issue directly with the minister puts us a step closer to actually voicing what our concerns are to the seat of power who is the owner of this company here, you know.  So we are hoping that we can indeed reach an agreement and not only that but we can make them see that what we are asking, that what we are requesting is fair.  I know I’ve heard some people say, “Oh, B.E.L. employees are greedy” but trust me, they wouldn’t have any idea of what our people have to go through to actually earn the salaries that they have.  And not only that, most of our salaries are not commensurate to the amount of work that we do.”

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