7 News Belize

Belize Energy Workers Take Their Case To The Labour Minister
posted (July 22, 2015)

Today members of BEL’s Energy Workers Union ended three days of picketing in front of the utility’s corporate headquarters. So what will they do next? Well, both sides were negotiating a new Collective Agreement since November of last year, but talks broke down in June, and that’s when they entered into mediation with the Labour Commissioner. But the union walked away from mediation and went to the picket line. What’s next? Well, they’ve been called to meet with the Labour minister, Godwin Hulse.

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

"The employees are still here so they have not managed to convince the employees of what they are saying. And if what they're saying is actually that they don't want to give anything to the employees, all they have to do is just tell us - we don't believe you earned anything, we don't believe that it is fair that we give you anything and we are not going to give you anything and the story done. That's all they have to do, they don't have to make the story long."

Daniel Ortiz

"Do you believe that is what they're saying at this time?"

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

"Man, that is exactly they're saying."

Daniel Ortiz

"They're saying that while the company wasn't performing well enough for profits to be earned, they still gave you all your benefits and it has been equivalent to 20% over the last 4 years in terms of an increase. What is the response at this time of the membership of the union?"

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

Looks at crowd: "Anybody here get 20% increase in their salary?"

Crowd

"No!"

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

"I think you get your response right there."

Daniel Ortiz

"So then, what is the next step for the BEWU?"

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

"The next step well, right now we recently received a call from the minister. The union is considering it and we are going to give him a response very soon - probably in the next hour. But at the end of the day, the union still has it's options open and what ever this crowd and the rest of the workers that didn't come out because they are on lunch decide, that's exactly what we have to do. If the minister is empowered by the government and indeed he can make decisions for government, he doesn't have to consult no BEL. He could see what we are requesting is fair and just and there's absolutely no way that any employee in their right mind would accept they two outrageous condition the company wants from us."

Daniel Ortiz

"Now sir, what if he sides with the company itself and agrees with their position over yours the union, what will happen then?"

Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union

"Brother man at the end of the day, it is this group of people here who will decide what will happen next and I believe they understand their true power and they understand what they can do and that's why we are here expressing ourselves to the media so that the customers know that - push come to shove, these workers here are prepared to go all the way.”

The union will be meeting with Minister Hulse tomorrow afternoon.

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