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Apr 5, 2017

Port Says C.B.A. Negotiations Stalled for 15 Months

The Christian Workers’ Union has gone through three presidents and multiple executive members in the span of five years, as the old regime of Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy gave way to Audrey Matura, who was replaced this year by Dale Trujeque.  And while other bargaining units of the C.W.U. have had their collective bargaining agreements settled during that time, the stevedores remain without one.  But C.E.O. of Port of Belize Limited Arturo Vasquez insists it is not his fault. Negotiations remained stuck in neutral for over a year before the recent C.W.U. election, and the Port wasted no time approaching Trujeque to get the ball rolling again. Vasquez took News Five through his personal frustration in waiting for the Union to act.

 

Arturo Vasquez

Arturo Vasquez, C.E.O./Receiver, Port of Belize Limited

“All of this is part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been going on. The C.W.U. has been changing presidents for the third time in five years – third time. We have already met with the C.W.U. executive, Mr. Dale Trujeque – we met with him last week, a ‘meet and greet’ and decide the way forward. As far as we are concerned the new President is online with what we planned to do and he is prepared to continue the negotiations which – the Port has been sitting here for fifteen months [waiting] for the previous executive to return to the table. Fifteen months. It is not the Port that is holding up the negotiations; it is the leadership of the C.W.U. who cannot seem to get their act together. To get to a timeline, I’m starting again with a new executive who has to present their new negotiating team, and I have asked Mr. Trujeque to catch up with everything that has happened before, because I don’t think that the Port is in a position, for the third time, to bring them up to speed. We have our documents; the C.W.U. should also have their documents. And I think we were getting somewhere in the last negotiation, but [for] fifteen months, I never saw the previous President for fifteen months after the last time we sat in this office to continue the negotiations. We are waiting to pick up where we left off.”

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