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Jul 23, 2015

BEWU Cautiously Optimistic After Meeting with Labor Minister

Marvin Mora

The Belize Energy Workers Union remains gingerly upbeat tonight following a meeting with Labor Minister, Godwin Hulse, in an effort to break the deadlock in negotiations with the principals of B.E.L.   The meeting today comes on the tail end of a series of a peaceful three-day demonstration staged by the membership of the union earlier this week, following a collapse in discussions on a salary adjustment.  As we’ve reported, BEWU is seeking an eight point two percent increase to be staggered across a four-year period.  B.E.L., on the other hand, while agreeing to that proposal, is affixing conditions which union members believe are unfair to them.  Notwithstanding an attempt at mediation by Labor Commissioner, Ivan Williams, the union has since expressed a lack of confidence in his ability to arbitrate objectively.  That position was succeeded by a call to meet with the minister himself where a presentation was made on the union’s behalf.  According to BEWU President, Marvin Mora, the meeting was successful and, until a decision is met, all demonstrations have been called off.

 

On the Phone: Marvin Mora, President, BEWU

“The update is that we went through the presentation [as we had agreed upon] in the presence of the minister because we feel that we needed to vent those issues to somebody other than the management of the company.  So the presentation went through and we are, I’d say, cautiously optimistic that we will get somewhere and we will be closer to signing some sort of agreement, you know.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Can you divulge details of this presentation?”

 

On the Phone: Marvin Mora

“Not really.  Not really.  I can’t go into the details but I can tell you that the major points of contention, the major issues that are facing the negotiation process for us were ventilated at the minister today and I think we did a pretty good job.  I had the support of all the union executives with me and they basically were able to push through and explain properly to the minister what the situation really is.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now you’ve mentioned that you’re cautiously optimistic that the overall outcome would be favorable.  What was the minister’s response either to the presentation or to the discussion that you had with him regarding this issue with B.E.L.?”

 

On the Phone: Marvin Mora

“Well one thing I can tell you is that for sure the same way he was receptive to management he was receptive to us right and that is good because it allowed the union to feel comfortable so that we could put forward the issues in an appropriate manner.  We believe that that in itself, I would say, gives the union an advantage and probably even management feels the same way, you know, because we are being as open as possible and as frank as possible as well.”

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