Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Belize

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Belize, 9 June 2010, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 307,000
Capital: Belmopan
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The UDP government continues to block negotiations and to refuse any real compromise with trade union organisations, as well as failing to comply with the international standards and conventions of the ILO.

Trade union rights in law

While the law guarantees basic trade union rights, there are some shortcomings. Workers are free to establish and join trade unions, and members are free to elect officers from their membership. However, foreigners are not allowed to hold union leadership posts. While the law prohibits anti-union discrimination, it does not provide for reinstatement in the case of dismissal for union activities. The fines imposed on companies for anti-union discrimination are also extremely low.

The right to collective bargaining is recognised, however under the Trade Unions' and Employers' Organisations Act, a union can only be certified as a bargaining agent if it receives 51% of the votes of the workers. Furthermore, the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Services Act empowers the authorities to prohibit or terminate a strike in "essential services", the list of which exceeds the ILO definition, as well as to refer a dispute to compulsory arbitration.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: The municipal elections of 4 March gave added impetus to the recently inaugurated government, the United Democratic Party (UDP), which secured an overwhelming victory.

Unfair dismissal: On 16 June, doctors and medical staff of the Belize Medical and Dental Union went on strike following the management's dismissal of Dr. Khalid Ghazi, medical chief of staff at the only tertiary care hospital. They returned to work when Dr. Ghazi was reinstated to his post.

Employer negotiates in bad faith: On 2 July, negotiations were broken off between the Hospital Memorial Karl Huesner and representatives of the Belize Medical and Dental Union. According to union representative Dr. John Sosa, the management was negotiating the 14-point document to improve working conditions and patient care in bad faith.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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