In spite of promises that they will be paid by Friday, May 6, workers attached to the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital are refusing to go back to work.
A source tells REAL News that – within an hour of their protest outside the Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning – Joan Peters, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA), received a hand-delivered letter written by the Permanent Secretary.
The source says that Government has promised to pay the workers $300,000 to cover their overtime payments and COVID-19 remuneration.
But while this is welcome news, the source says that employees are refusing to budge until some of their other grievances are addressed.
These include lights around the perimeter of the psychiatric hospital, because the fence is broken and the premises can be dangerously dark at night. Accordingly, the staff are concerned for their safety.
They are also demanding cleaning supplies and working washing machines. Reportedly, there is only one machine functioning at this time, forcing workers to do laundry multiple times each day.
Their other grievances can be dealt with at a later time, the staff say, but these demands must be met before they return to work,.
Today, Wednesday, was the second consecutive day of the Clarevue employees’ industrial action.
Carrying placards and chanting, the more than 50 workers made their way to the Ministry of Health’s headquarters on lower High and Long Streets. They demanded to be paid monies owed and protested deplorable and unsatisfactory working conditions.
In an interview this morning, Peters told REAL News that the workers are tired of continued promises with no meaningful action by the Government to address their concerns.
Peters referred to negotiations between the two parties as still being at square one.