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Dec 11, 2015

Stevedores Agree to Return to Work Amid Negotiations with Port Management

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez

Now, there are three options that were being explored as solutions to the strike at the Port of Belize. The first option for cargo vessels to call to port at Big Creek in the south was also the most costly. The second was to acquire other stevedores, even police officers, to offload and on-load the containers. And the third was for stevedores to go back to work and allow negotiations to continue. Fortunately, the latter was achieved. C.E.O./Receivership “Tux Vasquez says that the Port is considered its options in the event of a similar incident.
Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, C.E.O./Receivership, Port of Belize

“There would have been an additional cost just to get the cargo from Big Creek to Belize City where the hub of the commercial is; that’s where the cost would be. Port charges would also be different, but they don’t have stevedoring the way we have it so maybe there is a different fee there. But the cost I think significantly would be transferring it from Big Creek to Belize City; that’s where the extra cost would come in, but yes that’s an alternate option. But I want to go back to option two and I think that as we speak the Port is looking, definitely immediately looking, at substitute workers in case we have a situation like this because the country cannot be held at ransom. And really once it is formalized and done properly, it needs to be understood that the Port has a right to get its work done and substitute and having procedures in place that when this happens again, you can get the work done others—not necessarily by force because that’s not what you want. I think that everybody will need to understand that. this is something that I don’t think…this is not just the CWU and the Port; this is the country that we are looking at and I think this came very close to having been a much bigger problem. So I am very, very happy that we were able to settle it yesterday and we are back to normal right now.”

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