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Apr 27, 2012

Belize Energy Workers Union wants C.E.O. Jeffrey Locke removed

The Belize Energy Workers Union (B.E.W.U.) staged a midday protest at the gates of Belize Electricity Limited (B.E.L.) on Thursday afternoon. They said that they have honored their Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, it is B.E.L. which has done little to resolve the issues which are close to boiling point. The union wants three dismissed workers reinstated; key apprentice linesmen to be given permanent status since the workers have already complied with their obligations as stipulated within their contract; and job security for plant operators at the gas turbine generating unit that B.E.L. now deems redundant. But to accomplish all which they have set forth, B.E.W.U believes it can only happen if the C.E.O. Jeffrey Locke is removed because they believe it is under his leadership that negotiations have become stagnant.

 

Marvin Mora, President, Belize Energy Workers Union

“In essence, it would be better for the union to address these issues with probably the board or somebody higher than the C.E.O. We’ve had too many problems in dialogue with the C.E.O.; we’ve seen his demeanor and to be honest with you, it does not motivate us—it’s no incentive for us to continue dialogue. So we prefer that somebody higher than Mister Locke steps in and brings peace to this issue.”

 

Jose Sanchez

Marvin Mora

“Would you say that the different actions that can happen can still happen like blackouts, strike actions? Are those still out there? Are they still a possibility?”

 

Marvin Mora

“Yes there are. Let me clarify a point. In terms of blackouts, the union is not saying that we’re going to go out there and sabotage the system. There is due process for that. The union has several steps that they have to go through in order for them to arrive at holding back their labor. When we hold back our labor, of course logically, sometime or the next the system will fail and there won’t be any human element to put it back in place. So eventually if the company so chooses not to listen to the union and continue their bully-type behavior, then we will end up in a situation where the brothers will have to pull back their labor.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So when does the union and B.E.L. resume discussions?”

 

Marvin Mora

“Okay well we have not received any proposals from B.E.L. As far as I am concerned, we have been called to meetings to address these issues, but all we get are the same story that we have unsubstantiated claims and that they have done all that they should have done, but no real proposals come to the table. As far as we are concerned, I would prefer not to say proposal but action. I don’t know but I believe that the union is looking at the current management of the company—not to engage in any more dialogue but straight, direct action. Deal with these issues: bring back the guys—it is not impossible to bring them back. It is human to say that they erred.”

 

The union also wants pending bonus for 2008, 2009, 2010 to be paid forthwith to the employees of B.E.L. Late this evening, the union sent out a press release with supporting documents that outline their issues with B.E.L. Some of them will be available for download at Channel 5’s website.

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