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Dec 12, 2013

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the new President of the CWU

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

The embattled Christian Workers Union, booted from the fold of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize in late October for failing to convene a meeting to elect executives, has a new president.  Audrey Matura-Shepherd has been unanimously approved by all fourteen entities within the CWU, including stevedores, as well as Central Bank and Social Security Board employees.  Despite not being a member of the union, Matura-Shepherd’s endorsement comes at a critical time when the administration of CWU is in dire need of being restructured.  The announcement comes as good news for stevedores since they will now rely on Matura-Shepherd’s legal expertise to conclude negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement with the Port of Belize Limited.  This afternoon, shop stewards from various entities formally introduced the well-known attorney as incoming president.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Incoming President, Christian Workers Union

“It was about a month ago, I think just after the attempted convention, that different members of the executive contacted me and asked me if I would at least consider going to a meeting.  I went to the meeting to hear what they had to say and could not give an answer then.  I had more questions to ask, I have a lot of concerns.  I was very concerned about the faction that was going on, all the bad publicity that a union should be strong and this union has already, from all appearances they were defeating themselves.  So I told the grouping there was that one of the first things I wanted to do was meet with the representatives of the stevedores because you’re asking me to lead I cannot lead half of a group.  I have to know that everybody can come together and that that fracture that we had been seeing publicly can be mended immediately.  They had no problem with that.  I called Mr. Pitter and Mr. Rivers and we met, I told them about the meeting.  I believe in full, frank disclosure, I wanted them to know what transpired because I think that if I am to lead them I need to have their confidence as well. I come onboard to work with the workers.  I think that in this country on a whole for too long workers are being taken advantage of no matter where you work, be it stevedores or at the higher level.  A lot of people suffer in silence because they want to keep their jobs.  We will become compliant.  We have to.  We cannot say we represent the interest of workers, we cannot say that we are a union; we cannot say that have bargaining power and not be accountable ourselves.  So we will become, we will raise our standards.  We will become compliant to the point that we will be admitted back into the National Trade Union Congress [of Belize].  We will be a force to be reckoned with within that congress and I don’t see a problem with it.  The membership, I have not met all of them, I’m going to meet them at the convention but the feedback we’re getting from the shop stewards, the level of confidence in my ability to be able to move it forward is very strong and I think that’s what people need.”

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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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2 Responses for “Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the new President of the CWU”

  1. Al says:

    It is good that they elected someone who has no personal affiliates in the union. This move is certainly a huge step in the right direction. Congratulations Ms Matura-Shepherd. A huge step forward for the union, and a small but important step for workers in the private industry.

  2. Stuart says:

    Jesus-more of her on the nightly news for every pin that drops and pan that beats.

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