We have reported on the letter sent by stevedores to the President of the Christian Workers Union, Dale Trujeque instructing him to
“..step away from the bargaining table with Port of Belize Ltd with immediate effect”.
The letter further instructs Trujeque that
“..you are prohibited from organizing any other matters associated with or in relation to the collective bargaining agreement process until further notice.”
The letter was written by Cyril Fuller junior and an attached petition held signatures of 33 stevedores. The letter didn’t give any reason for the demand but said that the reason would be discussed at a later date at a special meeting with the executive council of the Christian Workers Union to be held at the earliest possible time. Today, the media caught up with the author of the letter, Stevedore Cyril Fuller, Jr:
Cyrill Fuller, Stevedores: The stevedores believe that there is a need for a break in the negotiating because we believe there’s a stalemate. And from the format of negotiation it needs to be revised. The will take time to do some house cleaning, meet with the Union executives to chart a way forward, redesign the negotiating team and strategy because we believe that needs to be redirected. We also need to discuss the negotiating points prepared in a final proposal; restate clarity and points not clear to the stevedores and to introduce related issues not stated in the MOU because we have had an MOU that we have been operating under. For example, I’ll just go brief, there are crude retirement benefits for the stevedores retired or died or harnessed during the period of 2004-2016. For most of these men they only got the smaller portion of their retirement benefits. The larger portion will need to be introduced into the negotiation. The remaining points and MOU will need some more detail clarification to complete the negotiation.
Fuller says the stevedores are of the opinion that the negotiating team is not adequately keeping them abreast of developments.
Cyrill Fuller, Stevedores: Yes we had one meeting at the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Centre, that was from April; and he promised to get back to us, brief us and to keep us abreast of the negotiation and how it is getting along. Any time I pass by the office to hear any update, nothing. I pass at the office up and down and it’s kind of irritating. They need to understand that they are accountable to us. Personally I have no problem with PBL management because they will do to defend their interest and that’ natural. What I am concerned about is who is representing me, you represent me; so I will direct you, you will hear my concerns and you will go with what will benefit my interest. Not in a fair way, not to be advantageous in anyway but it a fair way.
In the letter, the stevedores indicate that they intend to convene a special meeting with the executive council of the CWU. Trujeque has not responded and has indicated that he will meet with the entire negotiating team before an answer is provided. The letter is also copied to the president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, the CEO of Port of Belize and the Labour Commissioner.