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Sep 22, 2015

Matura-Shepherd Says Discussions with Port on CBA Amicable

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Matura-Shepherd also gave an update on negotiations between the CWU and Port of Belize Ltd. with respect of a collective bargaining agreement for waterfront workers.  While the CWU president admits that there has been no management-union agreement since the port changed ownership years ago, she says that discussions thus far have been amicable.  This succeeds recent industrial action taken by stevedores at PBL.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“I think that was a very positive meeting. I think one of the most important things was that there were some key differences that were settled. One, people always felt that there was a CBA at Port…there’s never been a CBA at Port and it was one of the questions I asked them. Do you all think there is a CBA or not a CBA? People don’t understand that when Port became privatized, the previous CBA never carried over; they even went to court to have a discussion on that. But what there had been was a series of framework that had been amended at least three times with addendums and that framework meaning the framework within which you will negotiate and two MOUs—one of 2004 and one of 2012. That is not a CBA, but they try to pass it off as a CBA. But in any event that expired since August 2015 and so what we were able to agree on is let’s at least settle the framework. It is not something easy, but I think it was a step in the right direction, it is positive. We are agreeing that look all of that has happened, but this is where we are starting off. We acknowledged what has happened before, but this is the starting point. So we remain optimistic about that. At this point, we don’t have anything negative to say simply because we have another meeting and we really believe that the interest of the port as is the interest of the union on behalf of the workers is to find at the end of the day how best for us to move forward to get a proper CBA; that addresses some of the things that have not been addressed and that will incorporate some of the things that have already been addressed.”

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