Line staff of the St. John’s Cooperative Credit Union are among the few who are lucky enough to be receiving a salary increase in these difficult economic times.
Through their bargaining agent, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), the employees will now enjoy an 8% salary increase after the completion of negotiations between the Union and the Credit Union’s management.
The Union says the raise is outlined in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will cover the period January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.
The staff, under the agreement, will receive a lump-sum payment in the first year, followed by a 5% increase in the second year and a 3% increase in the final year.
“Another highlight of the agreement is the harmonization of the company’s retirement age with Social Security’s pensionable age [which is now 65 years]. The line staff will also have an early-retirement option beginning at age 60,” the Union says.
Industrial Relations Officer Fernando Samuel thanks the Credit Union’s management team for an “interesting round of negotiations,” and says it is very important to maintain vibrant communication.
Samuel admits that negotiations were not smooth and there was an impasse on certain items; but these were ironed out in order to come to a resolution pleasing to both parties, he says.
Meanwhile, the Credit Union’s General Manager, Jennifer Whyte, describes the negotiations as an “important process” that requires a lot of forward planning and strategizing. She is pleased the two sides were able to arrive at an agreement that is beneficial to all the parties involved.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed on February 24.
The Workers Union also represents the supervisory and confidential employees at the Credit Union, and negotiations involving these workers are near completion.