Mother of two, Ms. Shari Muschamp was, a few weeks ago, unsure how she would survive from day to day after being relieved for her post as receptionist at the International Business Companies Registry. The excuse: the Government, which took over the Registry while she was on maternity leave, was not sure if she was medically fit for work, even though she was never approached. She has since gone back to work, but the terms of her employment had not been nailed down, that is until today. Her attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd told us more.
Ms. Audrey Matura: “There is really good news and I have to first thank the media for keeping that story alive; Ms. Sharie…I have her letter here that she was offered full employment effective the 11th June. It’s not everything we want in the sense that her employment, they are offering her new employment on the 11th of June onwards (that’s when the Government took over the IBC registry) We are not totally satisfied with one or two points, but it’s not sufficient for us to say an outright, no…we don’t want it. I think we’ve got roofs for negotiating. We’ve sent a letter to the Director General of the Registry, which is Mr. Gian Ghandi and we hope to get a favourable response but at least for now we know she has a job; come payday, she has a salary to get; come Christmas, she has something to give to her children and I really want to thank all the persons that sensitized with her”.
Interestingly, her former employers, Belize International Services Limited (BISL), have yet to respond to queries regarding Muschamp’s status at the company before June 11.
Ms. Audrey Matura: “Up to right now we have not gotten a response form BISL. We wrote them a letter because one of the key things is that we notice is , good news that she’s been offered new employment. But no one is answering as to what is happening before June 11th, which if she was indeed fired, constructively or otherwise, she is entitled to severance; she is entitled to certain benefits. No one has answered to that. But that does not mean that she does fit in the work. We still have given up our right and our duty to dispute that. So, sadly BISL have not answered, but like I said before, she’s in the other job and we know that the courts are here. That’s why we are in a civilized society. Is it government or is it BISL that owes her, and they better settle out of court because if they don’t, we will ask for legal cost and everything that she has suffered and we will keep this matter live because it cannot be that workers go through this type of injustice in this country because other people are more powerful”.
There are still a few issues to work on, including the matter of her salary, which had been raised before the takeover but under the new terms was brought back to what it was before. Also, Matura told PLUS News, the issue of her maternity benefit owed by Social Security has not been resolved.
Ms. Audrey Matura: “Interestingly, she didn’t get a maternity benefit government deal and that’s another second point that we are going to dispute and while we want her to remain employed, she then going to maternity leave in August. By then, government did own the location or the business and so they have not said what they will do about that’s one of the questions we are asking them to settle because someone has to pay her. The other point that we believe, needs some kind of settlement apart from the maternity benefit that is in dispute is that they say that after three days of employment, they will take her before the medical board, which our client knows that she is fit enough to be working. But that is just them trying to exonerate their position as before, but we think it should be known public that employees need to know that their boss can’t just get up and take you to a medical board; we will deal with that as it comes”.
Muschamp, according to Matura, has reserved her legal position in relation to these outstanding issues.