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Feb 6, 2018

Chamber, Unions Shake Hands on OSH Working Committee

Floyd Neal

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued two separate statements this afternoon. The first concerns the launch of the first San Pedro Town chapter of the business organization. It is scheduled for next Tuesday, February thirteenth at the Mahogany Bay Resort, on Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro Town. It is a partnership with the Belize Business Brokers organization headed by C.E.O. Michael Haworth, who has been an active member of the Hamilton (Ontario) Chamber of Commerce in Canada.  Secondly, there is an update on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill – specifically, attempts to revive it. The Chamber of Commerce and National Trade Union Congress of Belize were slated to negotiate on what should be included in the Bill, a previous version of which died in committee in the National Assembly in 2015. Its re-introduction was one of the eight demands the Belize National Teachers’ Union laid out at the time of their national strike in 2016. The two have now established a working committee to review and arrive at an agreed final position, following a meeting last Thursday. Here is what N.T.U.C.B. president Floyd Neal told us about that planned conversation in November.

 

Floyd Neal, President, National Trade Union Congress of Belize [File: November 22nd, 2017]

“The Trade Union Congress needs to have consensus on what it is our positions are. We thought that in the last session of the National Assembly, the bill that was introduced captured fairly well what our positions were. That died in the last session; the Prime Minister has given an undertaking that it will come back during this current session. We still need to get together with the Chamber and agree on what will be in the bill that will be tabled. So we are committed to having that conversation and something will happen in this term.”

 

Following the meeting, Neal commended the degree of seriousness that all parties demonstrated towards the process, and expressed confidence in the ability of the committee to achieve significant progress. As for the Chamber, president Nikita Usher said he was encouraged by the level of commitment expressed at the meeting and commended both the private sector and labor groups’ desire to collaborate and come to a finalized and workable version of the OSH Bill as soon as possible.

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