Headline — 19 September 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
NTUCB threatens Mayor Bernard Wagner

NTUCB/CWU’s Floyd Neal has some questions to answer; does     he have a hidden agenda with respect to City Hall?

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 17, 2018– The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) has written Belize City mayor, His Worship, Mayor Bernard Wagner, a threatening letter dated Sunday, September 16, and signed by its general secretary, Patrick Balan.

The NTUCB says that the Christian Workers Union (CWU) has been seeking to represent its members who are employed by the Belize City Council, but its efforts “have been met with disregard and disrespect …”   The union went on to state, “the Congress deems such actions as union-busting, and will not stand by and allow one of its affiliates to suffer such actions by any entity.

“We highly recommend that such actions, either by you or the Belize City Council, cease or desist forthwith … if these actions continue, then the Congress will have no other option than to intervene on behalf of its affiliate.”

To make such a serious claim, and threat, without properly substantiating those assertions appears questionable.

We were told by CitCo officials that many of the problems that the council is now trying to solve were in fact inherited from the previous UDP city council. The spokesperson wonders why the NTUCB had not brought this pressure to bear when the UDP council was in office.

In a telephone conversation with Amandala this afternoon, Mayor Wagner explained that the matter that CWU has raised has already been resolved by the council, and he also added that Floyd Neal has been antagonistic to the Council both in his capacity as CWU Secretary General and now as president of the NTUCB.

What is fueling the NTUCB’s interest in the situation involving approximately 13 cemetery workers? We spoke by telephone with the president of the NTUCB, Floyd Neal, who is also the general secretary of the CWU, about the issue with City Hall and its workers, which has been around throughout the tenure of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Darrell Bradley-led Belize City Council. Why is it now being treated as an urgent matter on the part of the CWU and the NTUCB, we asked Neal.

Neal agreed that the matter of the cemetery workers has been resolved, but claimed that the workers were overwhelmed when the Mayor, councilors and senior staff of the council descended on the workers at the Lord Ridge Cemetery without their collective bargaining agent, the CWU.

Neal, however, said that that resolution of the cemetery workers’ allowance has to be put to the test. Since Mayor Wagner promised to pay the workers their traveling and subsistence allowance, however, there has not been a funeral at the Eternal Garden burial ground, located around Mile 13 on the George Price Highway.

So, if as Neal, the president of the NTUCB and general secretary of the CWU, has admitted to our newspaper that the matter has been resolved, and they are just waiting to see if Mayor Wagner will keep the promise that the Council made to the workers, why did the NTUCB dispatch such a heavy-handed letter to the Mayor, and moreover, why was the letter disseminated to the media at the same time it was sent to him?

If there is no hidden agenda on the part of the NTUC/CWU’s Floyd Neal, would it not have been more “in good faith” for him to wait and see if the Belize City Council would keep its word to its workers before dispatching such an unnecessarily threatening letter to Mayor Bernard Wagner?

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Deshawn Swasey

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