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Aug 3, 2020

C.W.U. & P.B.L. Sign Historic C.B.A. for Stevedores after Sixteen Years!

The Port of Belize and the Christian Workers Union made history on Sunday when they signed the first Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s the first C.B.A. in sixteen years after countless negotiations and demonstrations and strikes that span multiple presidencies. But the culmination of the signing was rather relaxed and amicable, despite the contentious past two weeks where we’ve reported on a strike, the riotous face-off with police and talks of a nationalization of the port. These new rounds of discussions began Thursday of last week and some sessions lasted hours; one round of discussion went for as long as seventeen hours as they finalized the terms of the C.B.A.  The final round of negotiations went right up to three o’clock on Sunday morning.  The agreement is for three years.  Some of the points that were agreed upon include grievance and disciplinary mechanisms, as well as the much disputed items over the past decade, which concern work hours and the reclassification of trailers.  After the signing at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza on Sunday afternoon, the President of the C.W.U. spoke with the press to share more about the signing.

 

Evan “Mose” Hyde

Evan “Mose” Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“The C.B.A. has in elements that were cooked and baked and served years ago; 2012; 2017; 2004 – like literally, elements of the present C.B.A. are sixteen years old.  So, I cannot say that this was a four days process. The finishing up at the temperature that we had to finish it with what was at stake – yeah, the closing of this chapter were some long hours between Thursday and this afternoon.  This round featured the most contentious matter which I believe would have been the re-emergence of the hours of work which had created an impasse in 2018. So, we have had to take on that. This part that would have been the heavy lifting and so what we have created is an acceptance of the limit that had been imposed of fifteen hours straight that stevedores are allowed to work.   One of the issue that was significant as well was the issue of trailers – the issue of trailers created too many shut downs which were not really put out to the press but they happened over weekends. So, that became a contentious issue and so what we have been able to do is to get trailers established within the framework of the CBA and they are no longer trailers, they care called secondary substitutes and so now we believe that is a great movement and legitimizations of trailers.”

 

With the signing of this C.B.A., the stevedores went back to work at six on Sunday evening to offload the ship that was anchored since Friday. As we’ve mentioned, this C.B.A. is applicable to stevedores only.  The C.W.U. now moves forward to begin new rounds of negotiations for a C.B.A. for the staff of the Port of Belize. You’ll recall that thirty-six of those staff employees were made redundant two weeks ago.


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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