Department of Culture employees refuse to enter workplace due to health and safety concerns

The staff at the Department of Culture opted to stage industrial
action over their poor working conditions, on Monday morning,
September 11.
The action took the form of a sit-in, as the employees refused to
enter the lower Nevis Street building due to their health and safety

General-Secretary of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU)
Alrick Daniel says the issues affecting the building have been going
on for some time now.
He notes that the workers have brought them to management’s
attention and some corrective measures were, in fact, taken,
including the deep cleaning of the premises some time ago.
However, he says the troubling issues have resurfaced – including
the reappearance of rodents and other vermin.
Accordingly, the Union official says, the workers no longer feel
comfortable working in such an unhealthy environment.
Apparently, this location is not the only one being affected by such
issues; workers at another site on Redcliffe Street reportedly have
fallen ill.
As a consequence, Daniel says the union has advised the staff not to
return to the job unless their concerns are addressed.

Shop Steward Bernard DeNully says mold and mildew plague both
Culture Department offices, and this has been the case for a number
of years – despite deep cleaning having been undertaken on several
He believes the Department will eventually have to vacate its
current premises, due to the mounting health and safety concerns.
Meanwhile, Daniel says the workers are also complaining about
other issues affecting them, such as outstanding overtime and
retroactive pay.
The Department of Culture has about 96 members of staff, operating
from at least three locations: the head office on Old Parham Road;
the centre on Redcliffe Street that deals with dance and the arts; and
the lower Nevis Street location, which deals with pan and art and