Fellow Unionists, Newscasters and Belizeans, attached is a statement by myself on the situation surrounding my forced resignation from btl. There will be a lot of misinformation sent out by btl and i hope this gives you all more information coming from "who feels it". I can be reached either on this email of on my cell phone, [email protected]
PS. Also attaching managements notice to staff, note that they have managers going around threatening staff that if they support any action by the Union there will be serious repercussions from the upper management...
Paul PerriottSenator Paul's Perriot-Statement
STATEMENT TO PUBLIC/MEMBERS OF THE BCWU/UNIONISTS
In 2000 I joined what was then Belize Telecommunications Ltd. and over the past 11 years including its transformation to Belize Telemedia Limited, I have had an unblemished successful career. My record will attest to that and my evaluations always met and exceed the company’s expectation as was evident by my promotions over the years. Every Belizean can remember that I was actively involved in the BTL fiasco under the previous administration in which not only BTL workers, but the country collectively stood up for the rights of the workers of this nation. During that time the current administration was in opposition and the movement got its overwhelming support. After the nationalization of BTL by this current administration, workers quickly realized that the same situations regarding workers rights were not being addressed and regardless of the fact that government was now at the helm of the company, the same problems remain.
Last year when the issue of BTL employees Trust/Shares was raised, as any other worker of BTL, naturally I was very vocal in support of the workers being able to sometime in the future own a stake in BTL. Since a trust had been set up under the past government, myself like many other workers believed that the present government was in the best position after the takeover of BTL to undertake the process to allow workers to truly take over the trust and as the deserving beneficiaries reap the benefits of the payment of shares. The government supported management however took the opposite stand. Shortly after a meeting was held by the previous owners of BTL, which within my workers rights as an employee of BTL and also a union representative, I attended to more or less get a clear understanding of what was the status of both the trust and the shares. We also wanted as workers to state our clear position to the previous owners our intensions as it related to the trust and our ultimate objective was nothing less than total workers control over the trust without external influences. The previous owners naturally declined.
BTL management however with direct influence from a board of directors appointed by government took this harmless meeting as a betrayal not of the company, but rather to them and accused me of “changed sides” by the mere fact that I attended the meeting. The board’s sentiments, through the mouth of the Company’s Chairman, was conveyed to me through close friends within and outside the company. I must clearly reiterate that my side has always been on the side of the workers of Belize, be it BTL workers or otherwise. While the board stubbornly confused a fight for workers rights or citizens in general as political, my record over the year can demonstrate that my motives have always been pure and genuine.
Shortly after that meeting, I was abruptly transferred to Dangriga, with absolutely no clear goal for the new position. Clearly from my arrival in Dangriga there has been no set objective such that not even a work place was assigned for me to sit. A desk belonging to a coworker had to hurriedly be cleared for me upon my arrival there. BTL has always taken into consideration its workers overall situation prior to any transfer, this includes; family situation, financial capability etc. The transfer to Dangriga was under the pretext of a promotion but with three months probation and under the pretense that my expertise was greatly needed. This proved to be far from the truth and quite to the contrary since all passwords for the systems access was removed from me as soon as the transfer letter was given. Now am being told that I am to do works far below the standard of a Senior Technician which is my current position. My treatment was cold, calculating, with no dialogue or mutual agreement…it was a case of GO NOW OR GET FIRED! Since the transfer in September of 2011, the Company has systematically dismantled the Department I worked at and had its functions absorbed by the Service Delivery and Access Planning Section, without consolation or dialogue and due process according to our MOU and Collective Agreement with the union and workers. This is nothing short of deliberate in order to thwart any efforts and repel any persistence by me to be re-transferred to Belize City and my department. All the other workers in the dismantled department have also been placed elsewhere and also without due process.
BTL’s action is a clear case of obvious UNION BUSTING. These tactics are used worldwide, to get rid of union leaders. It was done to my wife Christine Perriott by the past owners of BTL. Note that then she was supported by the present administration and the present Chairman of BTL in particular. During that time it was convenient and politically expedient to speak against the unjust treatment just to realize that now they would do the same. Whenever workers champion the rights of the downtrodden you are labeled as “upstart” and a trouble maker. I will boldly say that the current management of BTL is worse than the previous Management. I have spent countless years of my life like many other good BTL workers devoted to building a successful company and fought with many others for it to remain Belizean for the benefit of Belizeans. The skills I earned in training were never utilized with my transfer hence, what was the purpose? I see only one, to frustrate my contract of employment and be terminated. In 2005 we fought for a change from the way the country was being run, we are now at a worst place as it relates to the rights of a people and the nation in general.
Recall the situation of Dylan Reneau, who was sent to Punta Gorda under the past administration, remember who defended him? Our current Prime Minister…DEAN O. BARROW. Imagine now, in my case the same situation is reverse but under his administration. Naturally his defenders will say that the Board is independent of the Government but any rational Belizean will understand that Government appoints the entire Board and they are all political appointees who carry out the mandate and too often the wishes of the government. The situation with this present BTL board and management has degraded dramatically; workers fear of losing their jobs is at an all time high as new politically appointed persons are brought in weekly. The Labour department has blatantly refused to take action in response to the grievance I have filed against the Company in respect to my transfer. Then again there is so much to be desired from that department. Workers and the general public have for too long been disrespected and punished for speaking out and being vocal on issues affecting them. In the words of FECTAB President, Mr. Tom Greenwood “I'd like this to be told to the people of Belize: in this country when a native Belizean fights for his rights - he is a trouble maker”. HOW TRUE!!!
When we look at the situation with the labour amendments being proposed, again the government is systematically dismissing the entire spirit of ILO Convention 158, which was to provide a level of protection for years of service for workers. This was to afford continuity of service for workers who are not guilty of any misconduct or inadequate performance at their place of employment. The Prime Minister is now saying that “he believes employers should have every right to fire any worker for no reason”. He does not believe that as per ILO Convention 158, workers should have the right to work and that valid reason should be given for a termination to occur. With all his legal knowledge and as the leader of this nation, he has betrayed the workers and people of Belize. His comment is a draconian drawback to the times of slavery and years gone when a worker could be fired for speaking out or because the employer is doing something illegally. As a Trade Unionist and Senator representing Workers rights I must and will stand against this injustice being brought against workers, the reach of government has no bound and it’s quite simple; you speak out and you are punished and ostracized. The Management of BTL is a vein of the government, if at that level they are disrespecting the Union and more so “UNION BUSTING” then what more can we expect to happen to Unions in general. Our rights to protest are being taken away from us as we speak in the Labour amendments and in proposed changes to the Essential Services Act. Where will they stop??? Is this actually the same government that when it was in opposition pledged to support and work with the Unions against the past administration?
When we look at the present situation of the workers at SSB, the utter disrespect to not sit and dialogue with the Workers representatives speaks for itself. The PSU and BNTU have been trying to negotiate a new Bargaining Agreement with the government also and have been unable to reach any reasonable agreement. We must note that we are all connected in some way or the other, when our sisters and brothers are being affected we all get affected, it might be a friend or family that works there, we are all feeling the pinch of all the increases in fuel, butane and other basic daily life commodities. Let us look at this situation not as RED or BLUE but as Belizeans who are asking for our rights to be heard and respected. If we look to the Middle East we will know what the result of oppression of a people can lead to. I love Belize, this is my country, my home, I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.
THRU GOD AND UNITY!!! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!
SENATOR PAUL PERRIOTT