The National Trade Union Congress of Belize has condemned the Kolbe Foundation for alleged unfair termination of employees from the Belize Central Prison. However, the Kolbe Foundation says that the terminations were lawful.
The Congress, via a press release, denounced in the strongest manner the terminations of Colive and Carol Casimiro, and demanded their reinstatement. The congress also chastised the management of the Belize Central Prison, saying that it appears to treat employees worse than the prisoners.
Dylan Reneau, president of the NTUCB, said that the Kolbe Foundation did not follow due process in its terminations. He also said that the NTUCB will discuss the firings as well as several other concerns about the Belize Central Prison, with the Prime Minister at their scheduled meeting sometime in June.
The Reporter spoke with CEO of the Kolbe Foundation, Earl Jones, who said that while he respects everyone’s right to pursue recourse if he/she feels he/she has been wronged, he maintains that the Kolbe Foundation operates in accordance the Laws of Belize.
Jones explained that both Casimiros were “terminated” as opposed to being “dismissed” and, according to the law, the Kolbe Foundation did not need to give them a reason for their termination. Jones went on to say that management found several practices that caused them to lose confidence in the couples’ abilities, which led to their termination.
Jones added that both Casimiros’ years of service were taken into account during remuneration and they were paid accordingly. He would not disclose what those practices were but said that management is prepared to do so in the event of legal proceedings.
The Reporter spoke with Colive Casimiro, who explained that the situation began with his wife Carol receiving a two-week suspension for failure to adhere to instructions.
He continued that the instructions were to attend a meeting and were sent via what he describes as a “poorly worded text message.” The message, he says, gave the impression that she did not have to attend.
Casimiro went on to say that management victimized him for voicing his discontent with the suspension. He said that he received a text message stating that management had made up its mind to terminate them, which it did on March 12.
According to Statutory Instrument 3 of 2011 of the Labor Act, Chapter 297 of the Laws of Belize, “terminations” as defined in Section 36 (3) do not have the requirement for “good and sufficient cause”, as is stated in section 41 for “dismissals”.