Labor Commissioner Calls In BEL Management And UnionThis afternoon at 1:30 - the Labour Commissioner called BEL Management and the Belize Energy Workers Union Executive to have what's called a pre-mediation meeting.
This came about after BEL asked for his intervention - when attempts to talk with the Union were going nowhere.
Things reached a flashpoint this weekend when - according to reports - BEL linesmen who were on call - turned off their radios.
This did not cause any catastrophic outages - but it surely underscored the need for urgent intervention.
And so today's meeting was held in that context. It started at 1:30 and went on for four and a half, almost five hours. A press briefing was held about half an hour ago - and here's what they said about the progress made:..
Dawn Sampson - Nunez - Corporate Secretary, BEL
"We just a few minutes ago we concluded a meeting between representatives of the BEWU and BEL. The meeting was called by the labour commissioner. It was a very successful meeting."
Marvin Mora, President BEWU
"The agreement has been made between all the parties involved that the labour commissioner will be the one that will speak on the mediation for a long as the mediation process goes on. The union just like the management is committed that this process works for the benefit of all."
Ivan Williams, Labour Commissioner
"I am pleased to say that coming out of the meeting - there will always be differences, but clearly there are procedures of how we can address these. So coming out of this meeting which is what I called a pre-mediation meeting, in other words we are trying to identify what the issues are and then to decide on a course of action how to ventilate and resolved those issues."
"Coming out of the meetings we have some results. One is; that both parties have agreed that this status quo would go back to the status quo, meaning that prior to actions that are being taken that we will have normalcy, meaning that people will go back to work. That is necessary so that the mediation consideration process can take its course."
"In respects to certain discussions which we have, it was also agreed that when we sit and discuss that joint statements would be made rather than persons going to the media and perhaps doing things that we deemed not to be in the interest of the mediation consideration process but might further aggravate the situation. So we have agreed to make joint statements and this is a classic example of that."
"Most importantly during the period when the mediation consideration takes place that both parties have agreed to stick to the provisions in a partnership collective agreement that exist between the parties and an MOU and more importantly to stick to the law relating to essential services because BEL is an essential service. Under chapter 298 of the laws of Belize it provides for a mechanism for both management and the union to follow certain course of actions before any industrial action is taken and so we've agreed to stick to the provisions of the law and to all those agreements that exists; the PCA and the MOU."
"Lastly, we've agreed to start the mediation process Wednesday of this week and we hope to conclude on all the issues in the next two weeks. So for now things are back to normal and we will be engaging in talks over whatever issues that are raised by the parties with a view to find a common solution or a win win solution as we like to say to whatever differences exists."
We will continue following developments in this labour dispute over the next two weeks.