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Sep 30, 1999

B.E.L. workers threaten to strike

Belize Electricity Limited got a shock from its employees this week, when they threatened to walk off the job. The Belize Energy Workers Union says it will go on strike in twenty-one days unless all employees are terminated, rewarded for their years of service and immediately rehired. The union says it acted in good faith with the Government of Belize over the years by not insisting they be paid as privatization began but now that the government shares are being sold, they want the money owed to them. They claim the top managerial personnel have already received payment for their service and say they are only asking for similar treatment. The union met with B.E.L. directors and management on Wednesday night but was unable to reach a compromise. Belize Electricity Limited issued a statement today saying they are under no legal obligation to meet these demands. They have forwarded the matter to the Minister of Public Utilities Maxwell Samuels so that he can deal with it under the laws governing the settlement of disputes in essential services. B.E.L. says customers do not need to worry about the supply of electricity being interrupted.

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