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Mar 23, 2001

Ports commissioner says union needs to sign

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Negotiations between the Christian Workers Union and the Belize Ports Authority over wages and benefits for some seventy-five port workers are still at an impasse. Unionised workers called us out to the port on Thursday to complain that their two percent lump sum payment for April first to December thirty-first and their five percent increase due from January, were not paid despite yesterday’s deadline. Non-union workers, however, did receive their monies. Today we heard the story from the other side of the bargaining table from Ports Commissioner, Captain John Watson.

Captain John Watson, Ports Commissioner

“At the meeting on the twenty-eighth of February, I said we would bring the agreement into being on April first. But the trade union wished that date to be brought forward and I agreed to bring it to March twenty-second.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“And they couldn’t get paid yesterday because?”

Captain John Watson

“They could not get paid because the agreement had not been signed by the trade union, who had altered significantly what was settled on the twenty-eighth of February. And this was apparently a tactic to put the Ports Authority in the corner in order that they get their way. That is not the way we conduct negotiations. We have no intention in penalizing any of out employees.”

Watson told News 5 that workers will get their pay whenever the draft agreement sent to the trade union on March seventh is signed and returned to him. He said amendments not agreed to prior to the March seventh draft agreement will be negotiated at a later date.

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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