Outcome of meeting between Ministry of Works employees and Labour Minister Benjamin will be known on Friday
The scheduled meeting between Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and Ministry of Works employees was held on Thursday, April 7; however, the outcome has not been revealed.
The 10 a.m. meeting first saw discussions between Ralph Potter, Industrial Relations Officer with the Antigua Trades & Labour Union, and the representative workers, as they sought a resolution on outstanding back pay, dating back three years.
Potter advised the picketing workers that he would inform them of the outcome of today’s meeting on Friday morning, April 8, at the Union’s headquarters at No. 46 North Street.
REAL News correspondent George Wehner, who has been following the story, reports that Potter said he would not disclose any information to the media before he has briefed the aggrieved workers.
The workers engaged in protest on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and then, on Wednesday, April 6, took their action to the Office of the Prime Minister.
On his way to Cabinet, Prime Minister Gaston Browne stopped and advised the employees to return to work, and he gave them a guarantee that they would receive $300,000 by noon on Wednesday.
However, whether this was, in fact, done, has not been confirmed.
Over a million dollars is owed to the workers, with one employee alone being owed over $300,000, Potter said on Wednesday.
In addition to the overtime payment, the workers are concerned about a number of other issues, including the lack of safety gear; workman’s compensation and insurance; and their mistreatment by a few supervisors.
The staff of the Antigua Broadcasting Service (ABS) will have to wait a bit longer before their second meeting with Minister of Labour Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.
The meeting had been set for Thursday, April 7; however, Kerrio Adams, Shop Steward at ABS, confirms that it was postponed to a later date, sometime next week.
The specific date has not been agreed on, and Adams did not reveal the cause for the postponement of the meeting.
The staff and management, who have been at loggerheads over overtime payments and other issues, met on Monday with Minister Benjamin and the discussions were set to continue today.
Adams says that staff will continue to work until the meeting with the Minister of Labour is concluded.