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Feb 14, 2011

Social Security workers sickout

At most Social Security offices countrywide today, members of the Christian Workers Union did not turn up for work in fact they called in sick. The action caused disruptions in the delivery of services because untrained cashiers took up the slack in receiving payment from contributors. The sickout is the first action that can potentially escalate into a strike by the more than a hundred and seventy union members. The workers, who provide what is deemed as essential services, want salary increases and benefits and claim that their last increase was four years ago. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Today employees of all the nation’s Social Security Board’s offices held a “sick-out”.  News Five understands that close to a hundred percent of all one hundred and seventy odd employees of Social Security who are members of the Belize Christian Workers Union, stayed away from work today.  That’s at least sixty percent of the Board’s total employment countrywide.  And it had nothing to do with it being Valentine’s Day.  The employees feel quite the contrary, that they are not being treated as they should, since their salaries have not been increased since 2007.  Employees at a couple of the offices we visited today told us that those employees who showed up for work were not members of the Union.  Those, employees who were at work were dispatched to other branches to deal with one of the Board’s busiest days for the month.  Today, as is every fourteenth of the every month, was the deadline for employers from across Belize to send in the Social Security contributions for their staff and workers.  This was handled by the Board’s offices that remained opened for the entire day, despite the fact that it might have taken longer at some offices.

The only office that would have remained closed today whether there was a sick-out or not is the Benque Viejo office on Church Street.  The office was closed, but that is because it is only a sub-office and is only open on Wednesdays to conduct business.

The Social Security Board issued a news release today in which it stated that the sick-out, or the industrial action, by the employees was premature and unjustified.  The release states in part that any requests by staff for salary increases can only be taken into account in conjunction with a full review of the current level of benefits, particularly pension benefits paid out to workers. The release also states that Social Security Board staff enjoys compensation packages that compare favorably with similar level institutions in Belize.  It also said that Social Security Board employees received salary increases in 2007, while the lowest paid pensioners’ received their last increase back in 2001.

News Five tried to speak with Antonio Gonzalez of the Christian Workers’ Union but we were told that he could not speak with us today. We were made to understand however, that the industrial action could be extended further into the week.  Marion Ali for News Five.

Word to News Five is that the C.W.U. will give notice of its intention to strike if the matter is not resolved in twenty-one days.

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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5 Responses for “Social Security workers sickout”

  1. reggie says:

    I agree with the have to find a way to make thing happen for you all .the pm only see Barrow Family.Look how fast he got his brother to work for the G.O.B. and he will make millions.What happen to the rest of Minister you mean they all see it the Barrow way.No one can say PM you are going off road.wake up the people is the power.But I know for sure he will pay in the next election.and i hope the PNP-N VIP take him to court to get back the poor people money.You Pm make our people look like SLAVERY DAYS IS STILL ALIVE AND KICKING.NOT BYE THE WHITE BYE OUR OWN BLACK BROTHER.I GUESS POWER SOMETIMES LET US ONLY THINK WHITE.SO YOU ARE A WHITE POWER PM IN A BLACK MAN SKIN.

  2. MyLegacyB4myPeople says:

    Bad time to be practicing a strike when many people would love to have a job.

  3. Witout strugle there is no progress says:

    The SSB management is only making and escuse for not raising salaries compareing it to Pensioners Benefits. Let me say……….benefits paid out by the scheme and benefits paid by an employer is two different things. Wat we hav here is an Employer/Employee problem. Merlen seem not to know the difference between oranges and apples. Gov. has a different system where when the PSU ask for salaries increases, its past employees who are now pensioners get that increase too. This is not the system at SSB. We wmployees get and increase, no past employess get any increase, SSB has less than 20 employees that are now pensioners from SSB as their Employer. The Pensioners that (Barly-no-Any) is talking about is from the Social Security Scheme. For these pensioners to get any raise it will need and SI (Statutary Instrument) signed my the minister himself. She needs to understand that the SSB Scheme and SSB as an employer are two different things. If one were to work out the maths… would not cost SSB $3,000,000 to adjust salaries, yet it has $50,000,000, in a company that we might have to give back and othere millions that are simply being wasted on ghost town all across the country………………………..2005 was a strong support where all unions came together,,,,,,Dean Barrow road that wave high on his surf board…………………if he thinks that wave cant come again…….think again Dean. Remember the Feb, 11th agreement………it swings both ways.

  4. wit out struggle there is no progress says:

    SSB’s management is only making an excuse using pensioners to not give their employees a raise… this is simply an Employer/Employee problem. Gov has a system when PSU ask for a raise, Pensioners (past employees of Gov.) get the raise also. This is not the case with SSB. Besides SSB has less that 15 or 20 past employees that are on pension. Mrs. (Barley-no-Any) seem not to know the difference between apples and oranges. The SSB Scheme and SSB as an Employer are two different things. The pensioners she is talking about I agree can use a raise……….but this wud need an SI (Statutary Instrument) signed by the minister. Thats why there is an Actuary done every so often to determine this. I applaud the workers……i wud hav gone straight to strike but thats just me. But Dean change the law so now we need 21 days. 2005 was a great year weh we learn the power of unity. Dean rode that wave high surfing all the way to office…………..Well if he thinks UDP own that wave like “WAVE” he can think again. Remmber the Feb, 11th 2005 agreement…………………… swings both ways…… can happen again………………………………NTUCB………call us again…..

  5. wit out struggle there is no progress says:

    to adjust salaries it would cost less that $50,000,000 that was invested in a company that we might have to give back……and wat about the millions on mortages that don exist and ghost towns around this country……….

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