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Oct 2, 2018

Mose Says Stevedores Will Not be Bulldozed!

Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

Since both parties are at a logjam, it is expected that Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is also Minister of Labor, will have to intervene in the matter.  Vasquez cites the Settlement of Disputes Essential Services Act which permits stevedores to give advance notice of industrial action; however, he also says that it is subject to legal interpretation.


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez, C.E.O., Port of Belize Ltd.

“The Settlement of Disputes Essential Services Act allows them to do such a notice and we were a bit surprised when we received their letter on Friday last week, a copy of them writing to the Minister of Labor which I think is the Prime Minister, that they are invoking the twenty-one days notice.  But while the provision allows for them to do that, it is our opinion and we also wrote the prime minister yesterday, October first, where we basically referred to another section of the act where it is our opinion that Section Eleven allows for the minister to be notified that there is a dispute, to be notified that there is an impasse, but also that section, from our interpretation, allows the minister to consider that if there exists any other means of settling a dispute or an impasse that those should be considered first.  In our negotiations, we have a document that we refer to as the Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiating Framework and that is simply what it is; it’s a framework that we agree as both parties on how we will proceed with negotiations.”


Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union

“The reality is that you have other items that are on that list that are extremely important to our members but you don’t want to talk about those.  So it’s not just a matter of you declaring impasse, you have that right, but we’re at a point now where we believe that there is a huge question mark as to whether or not you are negotiating in good faith and in fact, we have established on the record in those meetings, in those minutes, we believe that you are negotiating in bad faith and I think that is a charge that they should be responding to.”


Isani Cayetano

“The fact that an impasse has been declared, it would seem that a third party would be brought in to sort of mediate between the stevedores and the port administration.  Are you saying essentially that you’re prepared for there to be an arbitrator to come in and bring you guys back to the negotiating table or bring this before the court for an arbitration?”


Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

“The negotiation framework speaks to what we may do; it doesn’t speak to what we shall do.  We believe that the strength of our members is their unity and their willingness and courage to stand up, to get a message through to the other side of this negotiating table that we are not people you’re going to just bulldoze or you’re going to try to intimidate or you’re going to try to act as if though, well it’s your way or no way.”

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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