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Mar 4, 2019

C.W.U. Questions S.S.B.’s Letter to B.C.C.I.

The C.W.U. is also expressing concern on another matter relating to the S.S.B.  According to the C.W.U., a letter sent to the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry by C.E.O. Doctor Colin Young in January 2019, speaks of the S.S.B.’s efficiency measures for the time period of 2019-2025.  The letter speaks of an item labeled ‘Peransa savings,’ which refers to staff reduction and according to the C.W.U. President Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde; this is linked to one-point-zero-eight million dollars in savings to the S.S.B.  The union interprets this as a commitment to reduce staff over the next five years.

 

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“What they have projected in out of those items is that between 2019 and 2025 that they are going to save in excess of a million dollars on staff reduction. Naturally when such an item is disclosed to the staff is the level of trepidation in the staff. People want to know what does that mean. So while there has been an internal effort to kind of make an explanation that what it is that represents savings that will come about as the result of the present CBA which end in December 2019 that has not resulted in any calm and in any comfort. I think what we are trying to accomplish is get the attention of management and say no, listen this has to be done properly and clearly, no ambiguity here. Also we want it to be on the public record because while you can explain to us that is was not what was meant, can we be assured that this is what is interpreted by the Chamber.”

 

Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, C.E.O., S.S.B.

“We have looked at the number of new staff that S.S.B. had to hire every year in the last ten years. The population gets bigger. Insured persons get bigger. People are sending more sickness benefits claim. We need to process it within three days to get them their benefits. That means we need to bring in persons to do the work. We are now embarking on using a technology platform to automate some of the processes. What we said in the letter to the Chamber is that when we use the technology it will decrease the need in the future to bring on new staff. That is where the saving comes from, not from sending any staff that is her home. Then the other issue is the C.B.A. measures. That is the existing current C.B.A. that has been agreed and signed between the parties. Two things that we negotiated in that C.B.A.  One is that S.S.B. use to pay house rent to staff in perpetuity. One you were not when you joined the Board and you are out in a district we paid house rent. If you are there for twenty years, we paid house rent for twenty years. We looked across Belize and what other companies are doing and we finally succeed in capping the house rent for five years. After five years if you are not transferred then the house rent disappears. So what we did in the letter is to say to the Chamber after five years this will result to saving to the board. The Belizean public would want to know that we are being efficient with the resources of the fund especially when we are going out there to ask them to pay some more. The other thing that we abolish was the vacation grant. The vacation grant was paid to staff when they get one month of salary in addition to their normal salary. What we were able to negotiate is that for any new staff, the existing staff would be grandfathered in so no impact to them, but any new staff that was hired both at the management level and staff level after the signing of the C.B.A. that those staff will not get a vacation grant. That also represents savings to the board.”


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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