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Jul 29, 2016

CWU and CitCo Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

The Belize City Council and the Christian Workers Union have entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement on behalf of employees at City Hall.  The contract of employment, negotiated between management and the union, was first discussed during the tenure of former Mayor Steve Latchman in 1993.  Twenty-three years later, the CBA has finally materialized and all parties, including the Labor Department, are satisfied with the terms that have been laid out in the agreement.  CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd says the basis of the formal contract is to safeguard the employment of city council workers who are not politically appointed.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“There have been attempts to have a collective bargaining agreement to protect the workers that work at City Hall.  It’s been two decades that that attempt has been made and finally, twenty-three years later, it’s coming to fruition.  Of course it was not an easy battle but it was a battle nonetheless and we are seeing the fruits of it.  It’s not the most perfect CBA but it’s a massive step forward and we’re satisfied with that.  We hope that people look at the bigger picture and the bigger picture is that too often when people are working at any place like the city council that can be so politically charged then there are certain levels of protection, employees who are not political appointees require.  …If you don’t have that then there’s a lot of problem and a lot of chaos, and so by having the CBA, what we are doing is that we are making sure that we have the guidelines as to how any controversy will be dealt with but it’s beyond just when there is bad times, it’s a lot about good times too when there are benefits.  You are secured now in your benefits because sometimes people are saying, well where do I fall?  Some people were working before under government and they are governed by the Public Service rules, when it’s convenient they are governed by some other rules and it’s chaotic.  So it’s bringing the unity.  There’s more work to be done but clearly it’s a start for us and for CWU it’s a massive step forward because everybody will remember that when we took over the executive where CWU found many of these agreements in shambles or non-existent.  So this one was possible, of course the mayor and I have had our fuss and tussles over things but I am glad that we can sit down today and sign this CBA.”

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