The Belize Workers’ Union (BWU) signed on 5 January 2017 an agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSIL) granting a five percent wage increase over three years (on a 3-1-1 percent increases). New highest daily rate (9 hrs) is 72.10 Belizean dollars (BZD) paid to a heavy-duty operator (2016-2017) that will go up to BZD 73.55 (2018-2019), and the new lowest daily rate is 15.45 (2016) for general work in field burning, which will go up to 15.76 (2018). Manual spread of fertilizer is paid at 3.61/bag in 2016-2017 and 3.68/bag in 2018-2019. (USD 1.00 = BZD 2.00)
Also agreed was a 45-hour week-work running from Monday through Friday. The agreement covers 69 field workers in the period 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2019.
As part of the ongoing cooperation with the BWU, the IUF Global Sugar and Palm Oil Program is introducing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues in relation to field work, and the BWU is committed to an ongoing consultation with the field workers on the matter.
The BWU achieved representation rights for field workers at BSIL in July 2013. The ASR Group (American Sugar Refining), the world’s largest cane sugar refiner, controls a 78 percent stake in BSIL since October 2012, when it acquired a huge debt along with a promise to invest in modernising the factory.