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Jul 25, 2017

Negotiations for stevedores’ CBA continue, but are they really needed?

A few weeks ago, we told you about the call a few stevedores were making to ask CWU President Dale Trujeque to step away from the negotiations table. The stevedores, less than forty of them, said that they were not seeing any progress in the dialogue for the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The C.E.O. of the Port of Belize Arturo Vasquez says that while there was a call to halt the discussions, it hasn’t affected the discussions, but there is still a delay in the negotiations. In a wider discussion of stevedores and their role at ports, Vasquez pointed out that there are others things Belize needs to consider when it comes to the number of stevedores required for work.

 

Arturo Vasquez, CEO, Port of Belize

Arturo Vasquez

“It continues actually the CWU has changed presidents three times now, so really it is the port that has been sitting and waiting for us to complete these things. But, I believe that we have actually advanced our negotiations quite a bit in all three presidencies we have been able to achieve something. Unfortunately, I am now again seeing a delay and I really don’t know what that is but I am hoping that this time we can complete what we have started five years ago.”

 

Reporter

“There is a group of stevedores led by Mr Cecil, who were asking some of the representatives of the CWU to remove themselves from the bargaining table; has that affected the negotiations with the port?”

 

Arturo Vasquez

“No. No. It was only about thirty something of them from a hundred and fifty stevedores and I don’t think that the CWU, I can’t speak for them, but I don’t think it has changed anything. I believe that that group was a bit misunderstood with that was actually happening and I understand that they knew they weren’t quite aware of what the real agreements were, so they may have withdrawn themselves, I don’t know, but the quantity of them was too small to stop the negotiations; it was too small to affect the negotiations atleast from the part of the port.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“The kinds of challenges we have here with our stevedores; is this something that we are seeing in other parts of the region?”

 

Arturo Vasquez

“Stevedoring is something that is all over the world; you need people off load and load. So, stevedoring is absolutely something that is necessary, but there has to be changes. Time evolves, modernization happens and that is where I think Belize needs to realize that stevedoring is something that has to be considered. You need stevedores, but when you need them you don’t need all fifteen guys at one time; sometimes you may need six, sometimes you may need ten, sometimes you may need two, but there has to be some sort of agreement where we realize that the cost; at the end of the day cost affects everybody. So, the more labour you have the more cost intensive it becomes. I am not saying you don’t need the stevedores, but perhaps you don’t need fifteen all the time.”

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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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