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Jan 31, 2014

Labour Commissioner intervenes; 36 Security Officers granted a reprieve

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

President of the Christian Workers Union Audrey Matura-Shepherd has won her first major victory in that post. On Tuesday, we told you about the thirty-six City Council security personnel whose posts had been classified redundant. The security department had been privatized and contracted out to a city hall employee and these thirty-six men were to have been hired by the new security firm. But that was a verbal commitment, and the men received no letter of employment with the new firm. With their jobs lost and no new source of income in sight, the workers turned to their union. And the union came up big for them. Today was to have been their last day at work, but they have been granted a reprieve, thanks to the very timely intervention of the Labour Commissioner.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“At the initial attempt, we were informed reliably and then we later spoke with the commissioner that the council was reluctant to comply; that the city administrator informed that with the mayor being absent, they were not prepared to follow that command or make that decision. However, we were on standby because he said he would not just let it go like that and therefore about two-forty-five this evening we got a call here at the trade union office to tell us that he has been able to get information to the mayor via the deputy mayor and the city administrator and persuaded the mayor that today’s deadline for these men to work would be postponed because they need to consult with us and they need to meet with the Labor Commissioner. We don’t know for how long the postponement but to us that means victory because it means now that the Labor Commissioner will be having a meeting first thing Monday morning with the council to review the process they followed to bring about this redundancy and therefore he will then chart the way forward in which the union will be able to enter into negotiation on behalf of the workers. This is important to us because had the Labor Commissioner not intervene, had the City Council not intervene, we had several options and one of the options was that we were already calling on the Minister of Local Government to intervene and even the prime minister to reign in the City Council because clearly they are in contravention of the law. we never got any notice, we were able to ascertain that neither had the Labor Commissioner get any notice as to the circumstances nor the list of persons being affected and the way their benefits were gonna be paid out. So with that what we are calling on the workers to do is to show up back to work, just as normal; go to your same schedule. We understand that some people were being forced to sign contracts and agreements today. We want anybody who was forcing those people to know that this, if it was being done, is under duress; that the union can still negotiate for them a proper package and transition. We do want the new security company to take over some of the workers but we understand that they don’t want take over everyone. So allow us the proper time to negotiate. We believe one month would be enough.”


The contract for the security has been given to Hiram Longsworth, the Council’s former security manager. The reason given by the Council for the privatization of the department is that it is a cost-cutting measure.

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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2 Responses for “Labour Commissioner intervenes; 36 Security Officers granted a reprieve”

  1. sickntired says:

    Unu note the last name? Longsworth politician family name. No politician will make no cost saving. Somebody please investigate this cause i suspect da wah nice way to channel money for kick backs. This bunch think them smart but evil bound fi see the light of day. Tek chance affa people.

  2. BelizeaninAsia says:

    Strong Belizean woman. Truly a role model for our young women. God bless!

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