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Feb 27, 2007

B.T.L. says Perriott’s behaviour crossed the line

Story PictureWhile Janelle Chanona was speaking to Christine Perriott on St. Thomas Street, News Five’s Stewart Krohn was on the phone to B.T.L executive Karen Bevans. According to Bevans, Perriott’s anti-management behaviour crossed the line and left the company no choice.

Karen Bevans, Head of Business Dev./Marketing/P.R., B.T.L.
”Basically, the relationship between her and the company has not been working for some time now. The communication between her and management is deteriorating rapidly. The actions displayed, the communication, her personal views all indicate that she is not happy here at the company, she is not happy with B.T.L. It has come to the time where we have to part ways.”

Stewart Krohn
“Karen the obvious question here is can you separate her actions as a B.T.L. technician from her duties as a union representative? Couldn’t it be said that the actions you are speaking of really were part and parcel of her duties as a member of the B.C.W.U. executive?”

Karen Bevans
“No, we see it as personal actions, personal views. The sentiments expressed in correspondences, on talk shows, in any medium whatsoever clearly indicate that she personally is not happy with the management of the company.”

Stewart Krohn
“In the aftermath, of this kind of action Karen, can you expect that relations between B.T.L. and the Belize Communication Worker’s Union can go anywhere but down?”

Karen Bevans
”It’s basically deteriorating. It is not in the best of situation at this point. We hope that it does not get into any bigger issue, but at the point where an employee is no longer making any valuable contribution to the company, then that is the time we need to decide we need to part ways. Her services are no longer required. We will move on to the point where we fill the vacancy. All benefits and entitlements due to her have been paid off and any organisation has the right to terminate the services of an employee once full entitlement has been paid.”

Stewart Krohn
“Doesn’t this really ask the same question that the original labour dispute was about? The union said you terminated three people from the stores section. The problem wasn’t that you terminated them, but that you did it without the consultation that was required by the collective bargaining agreement and the memorandum of understanding. Couldn’t the same be said about your termination of Christine Perriott?”

Karen Bevans
“They are two separate issues and probably the same would be said, I don’t know how they will put it to you, but the main issue here for us is the personal relationship between here and the company, it is no longer beneficial to both parties.”

Stewart Krohn
“Karen, what message does this send to B.T.L. unionised employees who may be sitting on the fence and don’t know whether to get militant or to get in line with the company? Is this an attempt at union busting?”

Karen Bevans
“No, no I think it sends a message where we cannot condone the type of actions displayed here; we cannot condone any anti-management personal sentiment. We are trying to move the company forward and we want to work as a team. So we are sending a message, we are looking to work with employees who are prepared to work as a team and transform the company and move the company forward.”

Perriott has been an employee of B.T.L. for the past seventeen years. The National Trade Union Congress has called for a meeting of all its members tomorrow evening at five-thirty in response to this issue. Perriott says her firing will not affect the B.C.W.U.’s ongoing negotiations regarding an unrelated trade dispute. The deadline for conclusion of the negotiations remains March fifth, at which time government can either appoint an arbitration panel or allow the union to make good on its pledge to strike.

A late release from the People’s United Party states that it is very disappointed in B.T.L.’s firing of Perriott, particularly since it believes that negotiations under the supervision of Labour Minister Francis Fonseca were progressing toward a satisfactory conclusion.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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