By Alexis R. Milan
The Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU), which recently threatened to strike after negotiations with Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) broke down, has decided to delay its decision to take industrial action and continue working with the Labor Ministry to find an amicable solution.
According to BEWU Vice President Marvin Mora, the union met with Labor Minister Godwin Hulse who has been mediating the negotiations for the last few weeks, on Monday evening. He said that Hulse encouraged the union to stick out the negotiating progress rather than going the route of a strike, which would cost both the employees and the company time and money.
Mora added that they were presented with an updated proposal from BEL’s management but an agreement still hasn’t been made. He said the union is cautiously optimistic that both sides may soon reach a settlement but said the union still hasn’t removed the option to strike from the table entirely as yet.
If the union feels the negotiations aren’t yielding the results they hope to see, they may still employ industrial action as a way to bring the negotiations to a head. The union, however, has decided to hold off on its hard stance and is trying to negotiate in good faith, Mora said.
The union is asking for an eight percent salary increase among other demands, which has brought the negotiations to a standstill, as BEL has its own calculations of what the employees should be receiving.