There is a high possibility that we might be left in the dark as the grievances filed by the Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU) against the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) are a standstill. Members of the BEWU have staged demonstrations against their employer since, according to the union, they have been unable to meet with management to discuss a number of relevant issues.
On Friday, May 4, 2012, the Belize Energy Workers Union met with the media to give an update on the situations which includes the termination of three employees without due process, apprentice linesman whose status it believes is dubious, and to save the positions held by plant operators who were assigned to BELs Gast Turbine.
“The company sent us again a letter that tells us that they are moving on with their decision. We are taken aback; this is why we are here,” stated Marvin Mora, President of BEWU, to the media. “Basically this forms a part of the list of demands… BEL already knows what the demands are, however, they continue to continuously ignore the union so we are in this position where we have to explain to you guys why we have to take this stance.”
“I know that the public may be alarmed when we say industrial action (power outages) but it is well with our rights and we have certain processes that we have to go through and exhaust those processes till we reach to that end but at the end of the day, these guys and they are scattered all across the country, these guys are workers, they are employees, they wear the logo of the company, they go out there and when you see them you see BEL,” stated Mora.
“Blackouts MUST be avoided at all cost.... high crime....gang warfare still in a precarious situation....Cannot withstand the social outcome of Blackout at this time....”- statement from PUP Belize on their Facebook account.
BEL issued a press release stating that they have submitted a request for intervention by the Labor Commissioner in order to bring BEWU to the discussion table. This comes after a public communication of BEWU’s six points of action demanded from BEL. The release says BEWU has not directly presented their concerns to the company and an invitation has been extended to them by BEL to meet and discuss concerns which BEWU agreed to do at a neutral location.
BEL points out in the release that they are seriously concerned about the power outage statements BEWU have publicly released and that the company wishes to resolve the matter in the best interest of customers, employees and all other stakeholders.