Belize
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N.T.U.C.B. to P.M. Briceño: Rush the OSH

May 22, 2023

N.T.U.C.B. to P.M. Briceño: Rush the OSH

Luis “Luke” Martinez

The executive of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize met with Prime Minister John Briceño, Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde and Education Minister Francis Fonseca this afternoon in Belmopan. The N.T.U.C.B. executive wrote to the Prime Minister for a fifth time, asking for the meeting.  Among the key issues raised by the N.T.U.C.B. are the prioritization of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and the approval of International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions 158 and 155. These conventions require the approval of the National Assembly to ensure the well-being and protection of workers in Belize. The N.T.U.C.B. has been pressing the Prime Minister to “rush the OSH”. So today, after the two-hour meeting, we asked N.T.U.C.B. president if progress was made.

Hipolito Novelo

“Will the PM rush the OSH?”

Luis “Luke” Martinez, President, N.T.U.C.B.

“So that’s a very good question. We’ve received commitment because we were very blunt with him. We explained to the PM that the Minister of Labour is dragging his feet with us. And I’ve said that several times. And so, we’ve got some commitment from the Prime Minister that between now and August we could see the lights of the OSH going back to the Labour Advisory Board and then to Cabinet, and then to the National Assembly. So that’s good news for us.

Hipolito Novelo

“You got a verbal commitment, that’s it?”

Luis “Luke” Martinez

“Yes, that is how every work starts. As a matter of fact, as we speak, we’ve been pushing constantly at the Ministry of Labor through the labor advisory board to ensure that what needs to be done to OSH that is happening. We just felt that it was important for the prime minister to be abreast of how serious we are about OSH and the work that we’ve been putting in. And so, once we’re able to explain our position to the Prime Minister then we receive a level of commitment. Of course, to get the commitment going, it requires us to continue to sustain that campaign.”

Hipolito Novelo

“I ask because there’s some level of draft of the OSH Bill with N.T.U.C.B. and B.C.C.I.”

Luis “Luke” Martinez

Yes, and, and the Ministry of Labour.”

Hipolito Novelo

“So what’s the hold up?”

Luis “Luke” Martinez

“When you get an opportunity to speak to the minister, ask him.”