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Jan 31, 2003

B.T.L. management postpones layoffs

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It looks like not all of B.T.L.’s security staff will be going home…at least not just yet. That was the bittersweet news that the Belize Communication Workers Union received following their press conference on Thursday. On that day, the B.C.W.U., along with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, informed the media of the company’s retrenchment plans, which they saw as a direct contravention of their collective agreement. According to the B.C.W.U.’s acting president, Dwight Gentle, B.T.L. Chairman Dean Boyce told them that for the moment only some temporary workers will be retrenched, while the layoff of the remaining staff has been put on hold. However, the union is not accepting this latest decision and told News 5′s Jacqueline Woods about their plan of action.

Dwight Gentle, Acting President, B.C.W.U.

“We went in directly to speak to Mr. Boyce, the three of us which is Mrs. Christine Perriott, Paul Perriott, and myself. We kind of talk to him to let him understand how we felt and he expressed how he felt as well. And we managed to get some information from him or some sort of agreement that they will give us this proposal, which was supposed to be handed to us last night after when we got out of that meeting with him through the personnel officer from the company. He was supposed to withdraw this retrenchment from all permanent staff and as well union members. But it looks like he’s still going ahead with the temporary staff. And as far as we are concerned…we are sticking to it that we represent all staff or all workers of the company as per article one. And we will maintain that and we are still dissatisfied that how we feel, and we are in protest of that still yet, and we hope that that will change shortly, because they’re still going about calling in these temporary workers and trying to submit, and intimidating the union executive as well on what we are doing during working time, etcetera and thing.”

Jacqueline Woods

“If they refuse to comply, what will happen?”

Dwight Gentle

“Well we are going to take action.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Action like what?”

Dwight Gentle

“We’re going to enforce a twenty-one day notice and within that twenty-one days we’ll have some process as to how we’re going about implementing out dissatisfaction.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Just a quick clarification, are you saying that B.T.L.’s management is withdrawing the retrenchment of the permanent and union members, of are they just delaying the systematic laying off of these workers?”

Dwight Gentle

“They are delaying until further notice.”

Gentle says approximately seven temporary workers will be affected.

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