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Oct 23, 2018

CWU Withdraws 21-day Industrial Action Notice

The impasse between the Christian Workers Union and the Port of Belize Limited is over. Following a meeting this morning, both parties found common ground and after meeting with its membership this afternoon the CWU officially announced the withdrawal of its twenty-one-day industrial action notice. Both parties were at odds over working hours of stevedores, resulting in the CWU issuing its notice of industrial action which could have significantly affected business in the country. As CWU President, Even ‘Mose’ Hyde, explained at today’s meeting, the Port of Belize Limited and the CWU are in agreement on working hours which will feature changes in hourly rates, a transportation allowance, and the undertaking of the Minister of Labour to establish stevedoring as a special class of workers under the Labour Law.

 

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, CWU

“The Port has accepted the counter proposal that we presented to them at least generally because that has to be accompanied by numbers, we have to break it down. But it is significant that they are accepting that we will endeavor to prevent any earning loss to our members. In fact we are adamant that that is not something that we will accept. The Port accepts that the hourly rate is a mechanism which they are willing to adjust to neutralize that. They have also decided to withdraw their request to have out gang size reduced any further which we view as very significant. Also, something that is very positive for us that the Port understands the need for us to push the Ministry of Labour to make the adjustment for the stevedoring profession to be regarded in law as a unique profession. In fact so as to facilitate our very counter proposal. So in that regard we feel very encouraged as well. I think the fact that we have managed to move the point to where the legislature has participated in the conversation with the opinion given by the Attorney General which creates the possibility and what we believe is a road that we have to use. The fact that they are joining us in that, to say let us accept that stevedoring is a unique profession and let’s make an exception so as to accommodate a longer shift period than what they deemed as being legal presently. That is significant. Just sitting down and moving on to other items is significant.  The commitment to deal with remuneration which we have already put in the refrigerator is a significant one. We are talking about four years of retroactive pay increases that has not been benefitted by our members and they have committed to do that in two tranches: , November fifteen and November thirteen if I am not mistaken. These are significant movements and we would lie if we were to say that we are still encountering the level of intransigents that we encountered, that created this impasse and so we are creating movements.”


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