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Oct 1, 2015

Stevedores to Commence CBA Negotiations with Port of Belize

Guy Neal

A full round of negotiations between the CWU-represented stevedores and the Port of Belize Ltd. is scheduled to kick off next week after a protracted delay and hard feelings. The last challenge will lie in the agreement on a framework for CBA negotiation which includes specific issues to be discussed as well as timelines for discussion. Today, the CWU and stevedores called a press conference – the final, we are told, before intensive negotiations get underway. The stevedores were crystal clear as to what they want and just how far they’re prepared to go to get what they want.

 

Guy Neal, Stevedore

“We are the backbone of the Port because without us operating the Port cannot operate. We are the backbone. We do all the hard work, and dangerous. We go to work and we don’t know if we’ll come back home in one piece or ever. So we are very important people to our community and we want people to understand.”

 

Alrid Fuller

Alrid Fuller, Stevedore, Member of Negotiating Team

“All weh we deh ask Port for in these negotiations is the best for the workers. We really deserve better than weh they want to propose to we. The proposal just noh right and we gwein all the way until we get wah proper CBA. And we noh wah give up. We gwein all out. After 11 years of Port service, although da we do the work, but the equipment they give we fu work with noh good. Soh noh mek they bring da pretty commercial weh they have with da five million dollar investment. We da noh part of that investment. The stevedores ain’t a part of that investment.”

 

Ras Pitta

Ras Pitta, Head of Advisory Team, Negotiating Team

“Under the old leadership of Gonzalez we neva had no respect. And I feel and know that da the same motto weh PBL wah operate…no respect fu the union. That done! We wah stand up and fight fu the union especially fu wah insurance. When we lef from home eleven o’clock dah night and ride to Port anything could happen to we. We noh wah no insurance weh if yu noh hurt dis whole arm yu noh get nothing. And if yu hurt dis finger yu noh get nothing. We want a general insurance weh wah cover we from home to work and work to home. Fu we work risky Belize. Fu we work risky. Fu we work dah part of the economy of this whole country. We bring een fu unnu food, we bring in fu unnu clothes. We bring een everything fu unnu. Unnu have to understand at this point weh we deh. We really need fu we CBA. If we even have to goh to the point ah shet down fu we work fu mek Port come to the table and create a CBA between we and them we wah do it.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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