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Stevedores Upset: Institute Go-Slow At The Port

Posted By: Marty

Stevedores Upset: Institute Go-Slow At The Port - 07/08/20 10:24 AM

Last week we took you to the Port of Belize where full-time staff hd commence a lunchtime protest of their 10% pay cuts. Those measures were escalated today when a go-slow was put into effect. The idea is to hit their employer where it hurts: on the bottom line.

Now, PBL already claims that its bottom line was hurting due to COVID, and that's why these pay cuts were made. Now, the workers want the Port to feel deeper pain.

This afternoon, as his colleagues chanted and hoisted signs in the air, Staff Rep Will Lambey told us that the go-slow is a completely separate action from a 21-day notice to strike.

Will Lambey, Chief Rep, Port Of Belize
"Yes, we did have that meeting yesterday and in our meeting, we discussed that we have a go-slow along with the demonstration. The go slow started this morning and that will continue onward until they find some way to ratch up the system what we are doing."

"This will affect the discharge of vessels. This will affect people coming in and out of the Port getting their Barrels and their cargo so we're hoping that through this method it will affect the bottom line for PBL which is their financial bottom line."

"From last week what Wednesday we've been telling the port, let us have a conversation unless this thing will become uglier which we are trying to prevent. So I don't want anybody to walk away from this scenario believing that our whole idea is to disrupt the livelihood of the poor. No, our livelihoods have been disrupted and we are telling the port that we would like to have that communication tabled between them and us so that we can prevent the disruption of people's lives that use the Port facilities."

Reporter:
"This is not the 21 day notice of strike action correct, it's separate and if you were to do that would be yet another escalation?"

Will Lambey, Chief Rep, Port Of Belize
"Yes, that is right, the 21 days have not been evoked as yet, we are using slow meticulous movements so that people can understand that this process is not just out of hot air but that we're actually making traction into having solutions to the problem we're having. We realize that PBL seems to be stubborn and we as an employed body as workers will need to constantly galvanize this process. We know that standing up for your rights is not easy it's not always laced with a bed of roses and to get the team across it takes that special effort to get other people who have a lot to lose or all to lose to actually be here on the strike line being on the strike line can warrant your dismissal of your job so we realize all that is at the table however we cannot use that distraction and say because I can be terminated I won't stand up for my rights."

Cherisse Halsall:
"Sir with this going slow now, what will you say to Belizeans when they can't access goods on the shelves in the grocery stores if their medicine is delayed?"

Will Lambey, Chief Rep, Port Of Belize
"I would like for them to come here with me today and sit with me to see what I have lost. Imagine a person makes $174.00 their 10% makes them 75 dollars less. So imagine what, come and sit with me and see that the things that we are losing it's not that we want to be disruptive. We are saying that we need to protect my livelihood also. So taking 10% from me without my permission is considered robbery."

Cherisse Halsall:
"And then Sir finally for those people who are coming to the port to do business, what would you tell them about crossing your picket line?"

Will Lambey, Chief Rep, Port Of Belize
"We have no sense of violence we are asking them for solidarity. We are asking them to understand what we are going through, by helping us this thing can be solved quicker than if they would not."

And while you heard Lambey say that a 10 % cut of $174.00 would be $74.00 It would actually be $17.40.

We'll keep following the story.

Channel 7

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