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Screen_Shot_2013-12-02_at_8.14.05_PMA total of 24 field employees that work under the Crop Growing Project (CGP) for the Belize Sugar Industries Limited were terminated of their job last Friday. Workers say they were given no reason as to the decision but sought the representative body that foresees their affairs, the Belize Workers Union to intervene. President of the BWE, Ramiro Gongora, told us today that they met with BSI officials this morning asking for explanation of the termination and by ten this morning all 24 employees were back at work.


Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“Friday afternoon, after one the field workers approach the BWU office and stated that they want to talk to me in regards that they were being told that they have no more job, as the Union has legal representation to those workers we had to do what we think is right as we forward a letter to BSI management stating that these workers were taken out of the job without prior notice to the BWU.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“What were the reasons given to you?”


Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“The reason is that they do not have any more work for them but in respect to their workers that have been working for the past five years and so they have never been told something like this.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“So, I would assume they are contract workers?”


Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“Those are the contract workers that we are presently negotiating for to represent them in a collective bargaining agreement.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“Ok, so I understand that they got back their jobs at least they got contract work?”


Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“For the remaining balance as to the conclusion of the negotiation between BSI and BWU”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“How is that negotiating for the collective bargaining agreement going, you said you are representing 82 of them?”

 

Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“We started on November 15th, our first meeting was held at BSI staff club, so we presented our proposal, BSI accepted it and they said they are going to need a three days grace period to review the proposal and we are going to resume on December 13th for our negotiation for these workers.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“Apart from that, is everybody pretty much happy with the representation they have gotten from the Belize Workers Union?”


Ramiro Gongora– President, Belize Workers Union


“Well, yes they are happy and they appreciate all the effort that is being done in respect because they did one time prior to this wanted representation from the Belize Workers Union and so it was not offer at that moment but now the Union has sent to the tripartite and applied for the procedures to govern the collective bargaining for these field workers and on July 18th 2013 we were officially made their legally representative for them.”


Gongora says that these contract workers work 10 to 11 months of the year and stated that some of the men have been working under the umbrella for over 10 years. The Belize workers Union represents a total 242 contract and hourly paid workers.

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