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Feb 10, 2000

WIN protests Wage Council appointment

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It was supposed to have been received by all as good news and a positive step towards addressing the issue of a single minimum wage. However, the recent appointment of one of the members of the Wages Council by Valdimar Castillo, minister of Labour is being protested by the Women’s Issues Network. WIN – Belize issued a statement today saying they are surprised that the organization is not represented on the council, despite assurances they would be by Minister Castillo during a recent meeting. Mirlin Halliday, Head of WIN – Belize Advocacy Committee, says they do not endorse the appointment of Carolyn Williams who has no formal relationship with the network. Halliday says Williams is a member of an affiliated member group and was asked to represent them on the Political Reform Committee in 1998. However, Halliday says because she is not aware of the work the organization has done to lobby for a wage council and a single minimum wage, Williams is not an appropriate representative. Halliday says WIN is concerned and has asked Minister Castillo to address the issue.

Mirlin Halliday, Advocacy Committee

“Well, we are all against the appointment of a person they say is representing Women’s Interests Network and we know of no such existing organization except for us, Women’s Issues Network. So we are opposing that appointment because the person cannot represent us if she wasn’t chosen by our Advocacy Committee.

As far as you all are concerned, you all not represented on this council. No we are not represented after the minister assured us he would give us some sort of representation.

It makes our organization feels like we have been cheated of an important part of decision making involving the very people we represent, the very people we are lobbying for so it makes us feel bad.”

Jacqueline Woods

Will you continue the work to see that a minimum wage is implemented?

Mirlin Halliday

“Jackie this is just the start of our work and we intend to continue until we see this thing through.”

Halliday says if Minister Castillo does not respond, they will request a meeting with him and they plan to meet with the Wage Council. Minister Castillo and Labour Commissioner Edney Bennett were both in meetings this afternoon and could not be reached for comment.

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