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Feb 27, 2007

Labour dispute boils over as B.T.L. fires union official

Story PictureTonight the Belize Communication Workers Union is reeling from the news that its General Secretary Christine Perriott has been fired. According to Perriott, this morning she filed three grievances against Belize Telecommunications Limited, one involving what she referred to as “threats” directed at her by management. Just hours later, she says she was summoned to the conference room by the Head of Human Resources, Martha Molina, and informed verbally, and by way of a letter, that her services were no longer required. As news trickled through the corridors of the company, a crowd of B.T.L. employees gathered in front of the Esquivel Telecom Centre. Perriott says the official reason for her being fired was “deteriorating relations between herself and the company,” but she told us this evening that the move is nothing more than union busting.

Christine Perriott, Fired from B.T.L.
“Major, number one, union busting to get the staff scared, to get workers scared that they have the power and they have the authority and they can act above the law any which way. Because right now we have a twenty-one days notice to institute strike, the acting Labour Commissioner has called meetings and they just blatantly refuse.”

“This is not me, this is all God’s doing. This is a plan that He has. This is not over yet and I knew that this would have happened to me, I knew they would have done it to intimidate the workers, to intimidate even the Government, because they are in a capacity right now that they are calling for meetings and trying to do impasse so that, you know to stop the strike and they just blatantly say no, you wah do this.”

Janelle Chanona
“What do you do next Christine? Do you attack this legally, industrially?”

Christine Perriott
“On my behalf, I’m going to file a grievance and yes, I am going to do it legally. It’s a clear million dollar case. Wow, I can live good. But this is not about me, this is not about me, this is about the workers having their rights disrespected, workers having their dignity just ripped from them! You know, you have no right of expression, freedom of expression, no rights of freedom of association, no rights to join a union, to be an elected officer, no right to say that you don’t feel good at work, no right to adhere by a collective agreement. This is about people acting above the law. This is about injustices and this is about corruption! This is not about Christine Perriott, because I was not terminated as Christine Perriott, I was terminated as General Secretary of the Union.”

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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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