https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_CwLb7UrJE&list=PL736BDF6C6BC3B52D&index=34The Ministry of Labour has had to intervene in two separate labour disputes in recent weeks – staff of First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) and the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) with FCIB management, and the Belize Energy Workers’ Union (BEWU) with Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) management. As we reported earlier this week, the CWU and FCIB management are now at the table for negotiations as of next week. In the latter case, Minister of Labour Senator Godwin Hulse has been personally involved. He told reporters today that negotiations continue apace and a lot of clarity has been reached as to the issues between the two, ahead of another meeting also to be held next week.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour: Not at all. The discussions are definitely not falling away and we’re not close to industrial action. Over the last we have spent, I have personally spent 10 meetings and by labor commissioner and CEO took it from there to discuss with both parties. This has gone on now more than a month, almost two. There was some structural issues let us say that. We wanted to clear on both sides first. We’ve been at a point where we’ve had better clarity from management and we were hoping to meet with the unions this week, but we are understand from them that they had some issues concerning a death in the family of some one of their person’s negotiating team. So as a consequence we were not able to meet as a team. We have planned to meet on Monday coming and it is my hope that we will be able to square this away when we do meet on Monday because there’s now been tremendous clarity on both sides. Both what the unions really want and what the management really wants and we are fairly confident that we can bring this together.
Reporter: So when do you expect that an agreement can be signed ?
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour: I would hope that it would be Monday, but at least we’re working towards that.
One of the primary requests by the Union is for a pay increase for workers.