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#461542 - 04/03/13 08:28 AM Workers Group Challenges Kolbe
Marty Offline
A group calling itself the Belize Central Prison Employees correlation is taking on the management of the Kolbe Foundation - the private managers of the Prison. Their central issue is that they claim too many employees are being fired. They have a whole lot of other issues - and made a video documentary out of it. Attorneys for John Woods have written telling them to take down the defamatory video off FACEBOOK.

But they say the issues in the documentary are the same issues they have taken to the NTUCB, the Ombudsman and now to the media. The leaders of the group told us more today:

Herman Blease - Belize Central Prison Employees' Correlation
"Since January of this year, we had close to 30 employees being either terminated or suspended and even as I speak to you this minute, the head of the I.T section is on suspension - has just been suspended from the prison. Again this is a - this speaks to an on-going industrial relationship problem of the prison between the management and the employees. So we're saying since the first of March, we are going to create a movement that will put a stop to this continuing problem at Kolbe. So, we have gone ahead and met with the N.T.U.C.B, we've gone ahead and met with the Ombudsman, and now today, we are here because we have been threatened. The prison has gone ahead a threatened the correlation by issuing instructions through their attorney, that a documentary be removed from the - from Facebook."

Abdul Nunez - Former Prison Officer
"We are not crying foul; we're saying, if you're going to fight, and it's a fight you want, then let's fight fear. But don't intimidate us. We are asking you to unionize your workers at the Kolbe foundation if you have no fear."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay, so the video will remain up on Facebook?"

Herman Blease
"Certainly, unless we are directed otherwise by legal recourse; we intend to leave it there on Facebook to ensure that the public is educated."

Jules Vasquez
"But if persons are wrongfully terminated in the country of Belize, they can go to the labor office, and if they feel it's so wrong, they can take out a civil suit against the former employers."

Herman Blease
"The core of the issue here with the Kolbe Foundation is, when the prison was privatized to the Kolbe Foundation - the Kolbe Foundation - the prison is managed or run by Chapter 1 of the Laws of Belize. In that law of prison management, they are recourses; there are procedures which have to be followed when you are terminating an employee. The Kolbe Foundation has ignored that law that is Chapter 1, 39. What they have done they have replaced that essentially with Chapter 297 the Labor Act, by saying I can terminate you without cause, without giving you a reason."

They are requesting an audience with the PM and claim to represent 200 present and former prison employees.

Channel 7

#462062 - 04/10/13 06:05 AM Re: Workers Group Challenges Kolbe [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Prison Will Sue

A week ago, 7News told you about the group calling itself the Belize Central Prison Employees Correlation, who is challenging the management of the Kolbe Foundation, the private managers of the prisons.

As we reported, their main grievance is that the management has reportedly been terminating too many employees without due process, and it has driven them to produce a video which highlights this and a number of other issues, which they’ve posted on Facebook. An attorney representing the Kolbe Foundation CEO, John Woods, wrote to the lead member, Herman Blease, warning him that the organization has been engaging in a defamation campaign, but this warning did not shake their resolve.

Well, tonight, 7News has confirmed that the Belize Central Prison is in consultation with their attorneys and a decision is imminent as to whether or not they will take legal action against Blease and the Employees Correlation.

We spoke to Prison CEO, Earl Jones, who told us that all the materials that the organization has released to the public has been handed over to their attorneys, which included that documentary, and pamphlets which the organization’s members continue to produce other pamphlets.

Jones said that it is unfortunate that it has come to this because they’ve tried to approach the organization to settle this matter without resorting to the courts because it then becomes an expensive venture.

Jones added that Blease and his associates, contrary to the intended effect of writing to them, have stepped up their campaign against prison and its management, and they’ve now been forced to take appropriate action.

He also categorically denied that there is any suggestion of mass terminations are taking place at the prison, and that they have followed the Labour Laws to the letter.

Jones said finally that the attorney will give them a response by tomorrow. We’ll keep following up on the situation.

Channel 7


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