Audrey Matura Shepherd is the new president of the Christian Workers Union (CWU). As we told you yesterday the NTUCB has officially reinstated CWU into its fold and CWU is now moving forward.
Today a long standing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL) and the CWU was signed in Dangriga.
According to a press release issued earlier this evening, the agreement covers a little under 100 workers at peak production during the citrus season at the processing plants operated by CPBL subsidiaries the Citrus Company of Belize Ltd. and Valley Manufacturing Co Ltd., both of which are based at Pomona and Belize Food Products Ltd. and Belize Citrus Feed Ltd based at Alta Vista in the Stann Creek Valley.
On her way back from the signing of the agreement Miss Matura-Shepherd stopped by our studios.
“It was an agreement that was negotiated by me predecessor. We just went to fine-tune it and finally signed it. Unfortunately, these things take a long time for about half a year since we are trying to put it signed. Even up to this morning the Labour Commissioner had some details set. By midday, we managed to sign it and now the workers who are members of the union, have a new agreement with the CPBL which benefits them”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “What Sort of benefits are you talking about?”
Audrey Matura Shepherd: “One of the main ones is an increase in wages. We have been able to work out a four year increase for them. For the first year, they will get 17 cents an hour, the second year, 18 cents increase, the third and the fourth year, 20 cents increase. This means that this is retroactive to the start of the agreement which is the 1st October of last year. So, they will be getting a back pay, which we are told by the company that they will need at least the next 6 weeks to work out and then, but the new regime of payments, starts effectively”.
The Agreement was signed on behalf of CPBL by Chief Financial Officer Mr. Kent Herrera, Chief Administration Officer Mr. Nikita Usher and Production Manager Mr. William Popper Jr. Signing on Behalf of CWU were President of CWU Audrey Matura-Shepherd, CPBL Chief Union Representative Mr. Francisco Munoz and CWU General Secretary Floyd Neal. The Collective Bargaining Agreement runs for four years.