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Oct 2, 2018

A 21-Day Notice is Served on Port of Belize Ltd.

According to Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Belize, the labor law mandates that there be a minimum of nine hours of down time for persons working within a twenty-four hour period.  While both parties were deadlocked on the issue, CWU President Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde says that they subsequently requested a discussion on other items on the agenda.  He says that an impasse was then declared by the port’s management, resulting in the twenty-one day notice of intended strike action.

 

Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez, C.E.O., Port of Belize Ltd.

“It requires that you have at least, you should have nine hours of rest within twenty-four hours, that is not happening.  We have been trying since the beginning of the negotiations for them to understand that we need to remove this.  It is not safe, it could affect your insurance policies and by all means, as an employer, we are working outside the Labor Laws.  We cannot sit and negotiate unlawful activities, so while we have been trying to get them to understand that we need to address this situation and implement a rotation, a shift system that is what we have not been able to get them to agree with.  If we continue with the way we are operating, we continue to work outside of the law and there’s several aspects to it.”

 

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union

“We then asked, in fact we have done so even prior to last week Wednesday, on several occasions, if we have a problem with this matter since we are not seeing it eye to eye, if we can then look at the other items which are a part of the list of matters to negotiate as a part of this collective bargaining agreement.  On all occasions prior to last week Wednesday the response was, “No, we will not look at other items.”  Last week Wednesday, once again, we asked, can we please look at other items, put this matter here on the backburner and let us try to iron out other agreements on the other things, including one that our members feel they are not particularly interested in dealing with, accrued benefits which are normally a part of the collective bargaining agreement.  Again, the team representing the Port of Belize said that they don’t move on to any other thing and in fact we asked, “Are you then declaring impasse?”  They said, “Yes, we are declaring impasse.”  And our position is, well if we have an impasse, as is a part of the negotiations framework, we are entitled to multiple different options under the law and we have decided that we will be organizing our members for industrial action and as is required by law because of the Statutory Instrument of 2016, they have declared stevedores essential service, so they have to wait twenty-one days to be able to register their discontent with where we are.”

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