Disaffected workers say CWU President must go now

vlcsnap-2013-08-16-11h10m57s63Earlier this week President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) Dylan Reneau told another media house that the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) has been suspended from the umbrella organization because of unpaid dues. The CWU has been involved in long-running negotiations with the Port of Belize to normalize the working arrangements of 300 stevedores, but recently there has been discontent with the Union’s negotiating processes. This discontent has led to a movement for the resignation and or ouster of CWU president Antonio Gonzalez, who has already informed Union members that he will not stand for re-election at an upcoming general meeting. But disaffected workers Raymond Rivers and Deon Pitter say they want him out now. Mr Pitter tells us why.

Deon Pitter – Worker: [paraphrased]

vlcsnap-2013-08-16-10h49m59s245We fought with his poor representation for years.  Years before the brothers and I started to look after our business, the older fellows were never interested, but we young people started getting interested for a couple of years.  For years now we have complained to him about poor representation, no financial report, no accountability, no election, no nothing, and we get to a point where we’re tired of that.  We get to a point now that this man needs to go, because it’s over 15 years.  We’re tired of it.


According to Raymond Rivers, Gonzalez has broken his promises to them and lost their trust and confidence.

Raymond Rivers – Worker: [paraphrased]

vlcsnap-2013-08-16-11h03m21s64It all started from when the PUP made the decision to sell the port and dredge the port.  From then the man went rogue against us.  The first thing that happened, we had about a million dollars in our account from whenever the first shipping agency started in Belize, when the first shipping container came to Belize.  About 8 or 9 other entities with an agent pooled money on that for the stevedores.  When they come off, they have a pension plan. But with the new agents, and when the PUP thing happened, and Mr Gonzalez got in, they took about nearly half of the money.  He is going around all the entities saying. only those two men want me out.  But I could tell everybody out there, that it’s not only us.  We’ve got 300 stevedores that want him out.  The {Belize] City Council emailed a media house to say there not happy with this man, and now we’re lobbying too. He has to go by Friday evening. We don’t want him in any longer.

There was a meeting Thursday night of all CWU members which stretches to major Government employers such as the Central Bank and Social Security Board. Raymond Rivers and Deon Pitter say that in the case of the Port negotiations, an adhoc committee is ready to take over from Antonio Gonzalez. The embattled president, after initially agreeing to resign according to the men, is now saying he wants an opportunity to finish what he started.

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