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Jun 15, 2017

Stevedores Want Port Negotiations Stopped

A group of stevedores have called for a stop to the negotiations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In a letter sent out earlier this week, thirty-three stevedores called on President Dale Trujeque of the Christian Workers Union to hold off the negotiations with the Port of Belize. The letter goes on to say, “you are prohibited from organizing any other matters associated with or in relation to the collective bargaining agreement.”  The stevedores also demand that Trujeque doesn’t attempt to collaborate with stevedores that are members of the bargaining unit at this time and have called for a special meeting of the executive council of the C.W.U.  Stevedore Cyril Fuller spoke on behalf of the stevedores – he explains why they have called on Trujeque to half the negotiations of the C.B.A.

 

Cyril Fuller

Cyril Fuller, Stevedore

“That letter had to be sent because we weren’t getting any kind of dialogue with him as to the progress of the negotiation. He promised to come back and update us every step of the way and hear feedback from us and let us know the progress. That has not been happening and I have been up and down asking when will you meet with us?  It is like we are almost at a stalemate and we are dragging on since 2005. Because of that I think that the format of negotiation definitely need to be revised or revisited or something. Because if you are approaching and not making progress something is wrong. I think we have to take that time to do some house cleaning as well – because if you are not well prepared – you know?”

 

Andrea Polanco

“You say house cleaning – what you mean – get rid of some people?”

 

Cyril Fuller

“No. within the CWU, meet with the Union Executive to really chart a way forward because we haven’t had that privilege. To re-design the negotiating team and the strategy because it needs to be redesigned.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you all want different people to represent on that team?”

 

Dale Trujeque

Cyril Fuller

“Exactly. We have had several and it is dragging on from 2005 till now. Discuss the negotiated points and prepare a final proposal; re-state and clarify points not clear to the stevedores. We need to dialogue with them and to introduce related issues not stated in the MOU because there are other issues not cleared up in the MOU. The key and core I feel is the accrued retirement benefit for the stevedores especially those retired or died in harness during the period 2004-2016; for most of these men they have only gotten a small portion of their retirement benefit.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think it is fair that you are asking Mister Trujeque to hold off considering that he is fairly new to the process in his capacity as the President of the CWU and negotiating on behalf of the stevedores?”

 

Cyril Fuller

“Well, when you interview Mister Trujeque ask him how he got to the negotiating table so fast. Because there were questions asked in one meeting he had with us and he couldn’t answer me clearly.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Mister Fuller, I understand there are around one hundred and fifty registered stevedores who are members of the CWU; now, your letter was signed by only thirty three. Is this a small group of men who are just want to cause trouble or maybe they are unhappy with the leadership?”

 

Cyril Fuller

“No. As speaking due to my work and other brothers are gathering other signatures as well. So, I can offer more signatures as well.”

 

We contacted Trujeque who told us that he will not be commenting on the matter at this moment and that is has to be discussed with the entire team before they issue a response to the stevedores as a Union. He notes that the letter has already put a hold on the negotiations – so as soon as they get a meeting together and formulate an official position, it will be shared with the media.

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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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