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May 2, 2000

Labour Minister calls for unity

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This long weekend found most Belizean workers kicking back on the beach or in the bush, but at least a few in Belize’s labour movement spent their day at the Belize City Centre. In his remarks to the small gathering Labor Minister Valdemar Castillo said that this Labour Day found Belize enjoying industrial peace, harmony and stability. But with a few unions talking strike the minister asked all concerned to think before they act.

Valdemar Castillo, Minister of Labour

“We need to strengthen the tripartite partnership. We need to avoid confrontation but instead we need to apply cooperation and communication. We need to talk. We need to talk because strikes don’t help anyone. It doesn’t help the workers, it doesn’t help the employer, it doesn’t help the government, it doesn’t help the country, it just go backwards. And that’s why my message on Labour Day is let’s move forward, strengthening the tripartite system. Now more than ever that Belize will be facing globalization and free liberation on the single CARICOM market, tripartism have to come together, workers have to come together and we need to watch the nation. I must agree that the Belize Chamber of Commerce needs to watch the interest of its members. I must agree that the National Trade Union Congress needs to watch the interest of its members. But we need, most important, to watch the nation. That is the most important, the nation.”

According to Castillo, the unemployment rate in Belize has fallen from 14.3% to 12.8% since his government took office. The theme for this year’s Labor Day was “Workers, Employers and Government celebrating a new social partnership.”

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