The first claim made under the Trade Unions and Employers' Organisations (Registration, Recognition and Status) Act was filed by six former employees of banana farm Mayan King Limited. The employees alleged that they had been dismissed due to their role in spearheading a movement to unionise workers. The compensation awarded to the claimants was largely affected by the particular facts of the case.
The Court of Appeal recently handed down a decision in an employment dispute which appears to be contrary to long-established principles of the Trade Unions and Employers' Organisations (Registration, Recognition and Status) Act, which provide that a person cannot be awarded damages for injury to feelings. The employer, Mayan King, has been given leave to appeal the decision to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Labour (Amendment) Act will make significant changes to the law relating to employer/employee relationships in Belize. While some of the changes are not as extensive as originally drafted and therefore are unsatisfactory to the unions, they have still caused concern among employers which are already facing challenges in keeping their businesses afloat. This update summarises the main changes introduced by the amended act.