BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 14, 2015–Last Monday, the stevedores employed by the Port of Belize Limited went on a three-day strike after they and their union, the Christian Workers Union (CWU), failed to reach an agreement with the Port on a retroactive retirement plan.
Tonight, one week later, things have returned to normal at the Port, through which the bulk of goods that are imported into the country must pass.
Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, the receiver and CEO of the Port of Belize Limited, told Amandala tonight that everything is back to normal at the port during this busy holiday season.
Vasquez said that the next scheduled round of negotiations between the management of the Port and the CWU will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:30 p.m.
“We do need to settle the pension scheme,” Vasquez offered.
Amandala asked Vasquez if he is aware that there is a move afoot on the part of the Barrow administration to pass a Statutory Instrument that would make Port workers come under the Settlement of Dispute (Essential Services) Act.
Vasquez said that he was not aware of the move to bring the stevedores employed at the Port under the umbrella of the Essential Services Act, but he remarked that “it’s not a bad idea.”
“Stevedoring has to be an essential service,” Vasquez added.
“The union needs to give us some notice. I know they have the right to strike, but you can’t negotiate with a gun at your head,” Vasquez said.
Amandala attempted to speak to the CWU president Audrey Matura-Shepherd, but we were unsuccessful.