Port CEO says no to proposed bargaining agreement

By Alexis R. Milan
Staff Reporter

The Port of Belize has written to the Christian Workers Union (CWU) to inform them that they have rejected their most recently submitted Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) because they feel proper due diligence was not done.

Port of Belize Chief Executive Officer Arturo Vasquez said he wrote to the CWU last week to inform them that the port views their intention to introduce a new proposed CBA as the voiding of all previously agreed upon negotiations and frameworks.

More importantly, Vasquez added, the CWU submission makes no reference to the four point memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Port and the CWU in September 2012, which remains in force today. According to Vasquez, that MOU settled issues including increments, insurance benefits, retirement, safety equipment and back-pay, which was distributed in three lump-sums in October, November and December of 2012.

The Port is of the view that negotiations which began in 2012 have stalled over the past year but maintain that all agreements made in relation to the negotiation prior to the change in CWU leadership last year must be respected.

Vasquez further said that a review of the CWU’s draft CBA shows many similarities to the original one from 2012, however, it cannot be accepted because there is no acknowledgment of the previously agreed upon terms. According to Vasquez, when the CWU changed leadership over a year ago,ß they presented the new president with all documentation of where the negotiations were up to that point.

He said he hopes they can bridge the gap and work to resolve the CBA as quickly as possible because starting all over from scratch isn’t practical as they have already wasted so much time.

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