Shop steward cannot confirm ABS staff picket of Attorney-General’s Office, since things are happening behind the scene

The staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS) reportedly plans on taking their protest to the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Labour on Friday, April 1.

The workers downed tools on Wednesday, March 30, and their action continued today, Thursday. 

One employee, who says they are standing up for what is theirs, telephoned Observer Radio’s Voice of the People today, and had this to say from the picket line:

However, when REAL News made contact with shop steward Kerrio Adams, he was reluctant to confirm the picket on Friday.  He says that things were happening in the background and he was not privy to the goings-on.

The workers claim they have been waiting since 2015 – without resolution – to receive overtime and vacation pay from their employer.  Eventually, the matter was taken before the Industrial Court, reportedly on the recommendation of the Labour Minister.

However, in an apparent about-face, the Minister – Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin – reportedly sought to have the Industrial Court panel recuse itself, because of a perceived bias towards the workers.  However, Benjamin was unsuccessful.

The Government’s attorneys then took the matter – some persons say surreptitiously – to the Court of Appeal.  This has stalled the Industrial Court case and could result in the matter – said to be well advanced – having to be heard all over again before a new set of adjudicators.  

Accordingly, the staff of the media house want the appeal to be withdrawn.

In the meantime, they are showing up to their work place, signing in, and then gathering in the parking lot of the Cross Street office or nearby.

This is not the first time that ABS employees have taken action over payment of overtime and other gratuities; but with promises of settlement, they have always returned to work.