BELIZE CITY, Tues. Sept. 8, 2015 –Members of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) who work as stevedores at the Port of Belize Limited in Port Loyola, are expressing their discontent, because they have not been paid by the Port, they said.
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, president of the CWU, told us tonight that the men have not yet been paid for the day. Usually, they are paid at about 2:00 in the afternoon after completing a shift at about 6:00 in the morning, but today, they were told that they would not be paid.
Shepherd said that this action did not come as a surprise, because the Port had indicated that the sugar company, American Sugar Refinery (ASR), on whose sugar barges the stevedores had been working, had expressed dissatisfaction with the work done by the stevedores, who they claimed seemed to be on a “go-slow”. The Port thus indicated to the union that it was suspending all operations.
Matura-Shepherd said that the Port was acting in bad faith. She said that there were issues of concern that they had been trying to address, such as the fact that money to purchase food, which the Port was obligated to give to the workers, was not being paid on time and the company was also failing to honor an MOU that it had signed, but the Port was not cooperating.
Although they have not been paid, however, the workers are still on the job, working on another shift.
Matura-Shepherd is calling on the Port to pay the workers and come to the table and negotiate, to try to solve the problems that seem to exist between the two bodies – the Port and the CWU.
The union, according to its president, is planning a strike tomorrow, Wednesday, at the Port.