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Dec 2, 2013

Cane Growers Project former employees showed up to query the reason why they were released

Ramiro Gongora

While cane farmers in the north stayed away from making deliveries to Tower Hill last week, twenty-four employees attached to the Cane Growers Project at Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. were summarily relieved of their respective duties on Friday afternoon.  The mass termination came without due notice, amid ongoing negotiations between the Belize Workers Union and BSI.  Members of the group showed up at their jobsite this morning to query the reason why they were released indefinitely, only for BSI management to discover that due process had all but been abandoned during the layoff.  This morning, BWU President Ramiro Gongora told the media that the workers have been reinstated and that negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement will resume by mid-month.

 

Ramiro Gongora, President, Belize Workers Union

“On Friday, after one [o’clock] several workers from the CGP [Cane Growers Project] employees came to the office, you know, to the BWU office informing that they were being released until further notice.  We were not informed, as we are the legal bargaining agent for the field workers.  So we drafted a letter and forwarded it to management in regards to that, you know, and we did not get no answer.  So we waited until this morning to see if Mr. Carballo will answer the letter.  We waited until about nine o’clock and he did give me a call and said that it was on their behalf that they apologize for not informing the union, that they were going to release them.  But he instructed them to reemploy them this morning again. They are on a contract at the moment so presently we are in negotiation with them, you know.  We started negotiations on November fifteenth and then we’ll resume on December thirteenth to continue negotiating for them.”

 

Reporter

“Now these are recently, I understand, members of the Belize Workers Union, a total of eighty-two, are the rest of the recent members of the BWU also running maybe the risk of getting a similar release from their jobs?”

 

Ramiro Gongora

“Well, no.  We are negotiating so with respect to the eighty-two workers they will be, they are part of the bargaining agents and they are part of the bargaining unit so if anything should be done the union will be advised in respect to what decision will be made.  But during the negotiation process whatever is concluded then will govern the workers that we represent.”

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