Paul Perriott, a longstanding employee at Belize Telemedia Limited has handed in his resignation, but he is saying that he was forced into it. Perriott who has served as President of the Belize Communications Workers Union has been actively involved in the negotiations of BTL shares to the company’s employees. The fight has been one that dates back to the tenure of the last administration. In mid 2010, the issue of the BTL shares resurfaced and again Perriott was at the forefront. According to Perriott however, the Board of directors accused him of “changing sides”. This is when he says his problems began. A new position in Dangriga was opened for which he was selected to fill. Perriott says he was not given a choice and was transferred. Upon the advice of his lawyer, he took the job, but things were not the way he expected them to be.
Paul Perriott – Former BTL employee
“When I got to Dangriga all of that was changed. I wasn’t in charge of anybody. As opposed to that I was being told that I had to go back out in the field to do installations and maintenance that I haven’t done for the past six years. This new position was as a senior technician. That was the direction it was going in. the department I was working for was shut down early this year so, kind of like to tell me there is no place for me to go back here in Belize. I was opposing to doing the field installations because that was not what was told to me when I sat in the interview and if they wanted to change those conditions then I needed to go sit back with the human resources department. That was never done and with the shutting down of this department my department got incorporated with another section of the company. My dignity would not allow me to allow them to continue to abuse me as a worker, as a trade unionist. Definitely I believe that the actions that they took were done to frustrate my employment, and therein have me resign or not fulfill some sort of probationary period because I did have a probationary period of three months and if I did not comply with their demands then they could have said ‘you are not performing, you go home’. So, it was either that or resigning.
Perriott says he firmly believes the company forced him out to keep him quiet. P
aul Perriott – Former BTL employee
“As you know we had an election last year in September where I was again elected by the members to be the president of the Union. BTL’s management has continued to refuse that election so they don’t respect the executives that were elected in September. They continue to respect the past executives and they knew that if I stayed in the City where we have the bigger number of employees that I would continue to push my actions and then again weaken the position that they had taken.”
Perriott says however that even now that he is out of the company; he will continue in office in the Union. In addition, he plans to take the matter to court.
Paul Perriott – Former BTL employee
“I am still a member of the Belize Communications Workers Union, as long as I continue paying dues I could still be in office of the union and I am looking legally at my options where I take this, if I will challenge it in the courts. I believe that he case is clear and it can be proven in the courts that what was done to me amounted to dismissal. In the real sense of how things happen and especially in how the courts are set up it may be something difficult but I will take the chance. I think that people have to start deciding that they will stand up for something and not allow people to just push you around and allow it to continue. I have decided to take that stand and we will see how the court rules. I believe it is going to be in my favor.”
Belize Telemedia in a circular to staff explaining Perriott’s departure explained that Perriott’s sudden departure was mutually agreed and that benefits due to him was being paid.