By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize continues to support the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, despite concerns from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the economic impact of the proposed law.
NTUCB President Dylan Reneau told The Reporter that he believes the Belizean public would push for the enactment of this legislation when they understand the benefits.
Reneau explained that the drafting of the Bill was linked to international commitments that Belize has made, in particular the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) OSH Convention, which mandates that governments enact such legislation.
Reneau addressed one of the major points of contention during the consultations, namely the issue of regulations.
Through the enactment of the OSH Bill a National Occupational Safety and Health Authority would be established and the unions propose that after the Bill is passed, there be a period of three years in which all the regulations governing each industry is drafted.
Members from the BCCI as well as from the government side have expressed concerns about this, saying that the regulations must be drafted before the bill is passed.
Reneau justified the NTUCB’s position by citing that in Belize it is common practice for legislation to be passed and receive regulations several years after enactment.
Reneau stated that through the establishment of the NOSHA the regulations could reasonably be drafted within and even before the three-year period.
The Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2014 is proposed legislation that would establish particular regulatory principles for big and small employers and their employees and would carry stiff penalties for non-compliant employers.