3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Belize

The ITUC affiliate in Belize is the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB).

In practice

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Maintenance workers arrested for staging protest31-01-2015

On Monday 4 August 2014, 43 employees of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) were held for more than seven hours at the Queen Street Police Station for staging a protest demonstration outside City Hall. The spontaneous protest took place after employees learnt that at least 50 of them would be sent home because BML could not pay them, as the company had not been paid on time by the Belize City Council. The sanitation workers had not received their salaries for 19 weeks.

Those arrested were each charged for taking part in an unlawful public meeting, and a littering violation – they had scattered garbage bags as part of the protest – which would cost them $500 each. Activist Delroy Herrera described how the police had trapped the demonstrators in a blockade on Queen Street and using batons herded them into the station for processing.

Attorneys speaking on behalf of the demonstrators felt that unnecessary force had been used by police. Among those locked up were women with persistent medical conditions who reportedly fainted and suffered without their medication.

Two days later the Prime Minister intervened and decreed that as part of the resolution to the dispute the charges would be dropped. In October the Magistrate’s Court dismissed the charges against the BML workers. The Council paid BML the salary arrears owed, and in January 2015 it integrated 158 BML employees into its own staff.

Ministry of Education attempts to bypass negotiations with unions31-01-2013

The Ministry of Education asked parents to pick up their children from school because teachers would be attending a meeting with Minister of National Security John Saldivar to speak about the issue of a pay increase. At the same time negotiations were on-going with the Belize National Teachers Union, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and the Public Service Union. This meeting with teachers individually was therefore an attempt to undermine the collective negotiations.

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