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Feb 25, 2011

Christian Workers Union says S.S.B. is trying to divide and conquer employees

Time is running out on the Belize Social Security Board and the Christian Workers Union to work out the impasse over salaries and benefits for Social Security employees.  Since the “sick out” on February fourteenth of over a hundred and sixty employees countrywide, there has been no progress to a resolution.  But the Social Security Board has written to those members of staff who showed up for work last Monday.  The letter dated February eighteenth, commends the employees for putting in extra hours and for carrying out additional responsibilities during the sickout.  Union President, Antonio Gonzalez says the letter is designed to create a rift among employees.

Antonio Gonzalez, President, C.W.U.

Antonio Gonzalez

“Just to read a part of it: Please be informed you have been approved one day’s leave to compensate you for the additional duties and time worked.  And this was given to non-union members, to those union members who went there, cause we have a list of all the union members who didn’t participate in each district.  And from our calculation, it’s way beyond seventy percent that participated in the reported sick leave.  So this we can only interpret that management is working to divide and rule because why give one day’s leave?  It’s normal work.  If they come to work, there the normal work.  So why give them leave?  If they go through lunch, the institution right now, S.S.B. works between twelve and one.  You have people who work between twelve and one.  You have people who work overtime sometimes.”

Marion Ali

“Can’t it be also looked from this standpoint: that those people who did show up and had to work had to double up to meet the demands of the public, of the clients, because of those who did not show and they called in sick, so now they are getting their day off?”

Antonio Gonzalez

“Well, you can weigh the two sides that way, but in our opinion that is not correct.  That’s not the way forward.  The way forward is – these people went to work on their own freewill and they did the work because of times people on a daily basis, employees probably have more than their normal duties to perform.  So it’s not something new, just for one day this thing happen.  So we cannot accept management’s position, we wah compensate you because you were loyal to me.  That is not fair.”

Marion Ali

“Now if they had chosen to stay home or call in sick like the union members could any action have been taken against them because they had no representation by a union?”

Antonio Gonzalez

“The non-union members? Technically, we believe that some kind of action could have been taken against them.  We are not solely treating on the non-union members cause they are non-union members on their own freewill they have decided not to be our members.  It’s under the Constitution of Belize so we have to accept that.  But what we are saying is that our union members who did not participate, we’ll be sending a letter to them cause we noh want hear oh afterwards yoh hear it over the media, she the union send wah letter to me why I didn’t participate.  And that’s a normal procedure for any organization.  Why you noh support me?  Give me a reason why you didn’t support me.  So we’re in that process right now to see what response we get from our members who did not participate.”

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