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Apr 28, 2017

S.S.B. Chair Says Employees Have No Cause to Worry

Doug Singh

A one-point-seven-five percent pay raise is on the table for employees. According to Singh, a lot of staff members have accumulated vacation days for which they expect to be paid. That results in increased money for the Board to pay out and it also affects your contributions to the Board which are the basis for the benefits we all get when applicable. And so, the Board is stating that they will put a cap on such accumulation to two years, after which they need to take their vacation. Singh affirmed that all employees who have accumulated days will be allowed to take them. But Trujeque contends that this will directly affect the Union’s ability to negotiate for all its members, current and future, and sees it as union-busting.

 

Doug Singh, Chair, Social Security Board

“No current employee at Social Security is affected by this recommendation by management and Board. In fact, the recommendation is that all future hires would not be entitled to a vacation grant and the vacation days of future hires would be reduced. I will go on record also and state that employees that start at S.S.B., junior employees receive twenty vacation days on the onset and senior employees receive twenty-five vacation days – that is four working weeks and five working weeks respectively. In the private sector and in many other businesses that is not the norm; you normally start with two weeks’ vacation and work your way up, as time goes by, and the institution wants to put this right. The issue of vacation grant is really something we have inherited from the old colonial days, when the representative at these ministries were foreigners and they went back home and they were given paid leave to return back home, that is not the circumstance for people who are in Belize. And if you will recall, the Government of Belize has done away with vacation grant several years ago, so institutions are moving away from it. The recommendations that management and Board has made will not affect the current employees and Union members at Social Security, because it seeks only to do so for future hires, who are not members of the Union.”

 

Dale Trujeque

Dale Trujeque, President, Christian Workers’ Union

“While it is management’s view that we are approaching an agreement, our view is that we are at an impasse. I said in an earlier [interview] that there have been agreements on several points already but the key points, the sticking points, have to do with money issues, and for members in any of these environments, any of these job settings, the most important thing are the things that relate to money. And so we have a meeting coming up, we’re supposed to have a meeting coming up next week, and hopefully management’s position will change in respect to the proposed reduction in vacation leave and the elimination of the vacation grant, which are significant sums of money. And I’ll repeat it and I know management doesn’t like this, but I will repeat it: listen, don’t tell me it won’t affect my members that are employed here right now, it will affect the newcomers – that, I stand by it, is union-busting; it will prevent us from maintaining a membership at the levels where we have it currently; nobody will want to join us again.”

 

Singh indicated that the Board is prepared to re-consider on the matter of extending the agreement by one year, to the end of 2019, albeit with the same benefits, as well as the matter of reducing the amount of sick leave on full pay from six months to three in addition to the standard paid vacation days.

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2 Responses for “S.S.B. Chair Says Employees Have No Cause to Worry”

  1. Timber says:

    The funny thing about this is that you’re now dealing; i.e. UDP, with a Union Leader who will let you and the public know the truth. This is a very educated and diligent leader who knows labour laws, and, if it were not for the exception of lack of funds, would have completed his law degree in London. The truth of the matter is Doug Singh and UDP, you all continue to lie to and continue to fool the ignorant and the illiterate in Belize. They are the ones who are about to feel because they support and back you without any rhyme nor reason, ala “Donald Dumb Dumb Trump.” None of you want to tell Dean and his cronies where they are wrong in fear of losing your little hustle. Remember his statement about gas prices just recently? I knew they couldn’t sustain that. They cry “Well PUP Did This and PUP did that” in defense of their corruption. They have Belize presently and will leave it in a far worst state than Superbond. Doug, tell the people of Belize what all you all siphoned off Social Security money to cover; NHI, BTL and Bel Shares, some of the street projects, etc., etc… Now, the coffers have run dry. This money was due to Social Security workers, it wasn’t as if it were a new issue.

  2. Mike G says:

    One month vacation for new hires! That is outrageous! That is one of the major problems with government departments and the unproductive bureaucrats they breed. This type of nonsense contributes to the financial ruin of this country.

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