Union slaps Browne for encouraging poaching of its members; says his treatment of ex-LIAT staff shows contempt for workers and their agents

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has encouraged the Antigua Trades & Labour
Union (AT&LU) to poach the membership of the Antigua and Barbuda
Workers’ Union, and the latter is not taking his call lightly.

On Monday, May 6, Browne used his Labour Day address to issue the call
while claiming that the AT&LU’s alignment with the Antigua Labour Party is a
standard of integrity and commitment to workers’ rights.

But one disgusted observer says the prime minister’s encouragement for
poaching the Union’s membership “speaks to the man’s absolute lack of
character. What type of leader encourages a thief?” he asks.

In direct response to Browne, meanwhile, the Workers’ Union says nothing
could be further from the truth, since the Browne Administration “has issued
the most threats to workers and has trampled upon their rights without

Pointing to the ongoing severance battle with the former LIAT (1974) Ltd.
staff, the Workers’ Union says this has underscored the prime minister’s
contempt for workers’ rights and for the presence of powerful unions.
The Union notes it was yesterday, May 8, that the Barbados Government
began to issue the final portions of its settlement arrangement with LIAT
employees from that country.
In contrast, however, the Browne Administration is still bullying workers into
accepting a pittance of 32 percent of their severance. And while some
workers had already accepted an earlier offer of 50 percent, the Union says,
they are still waiting for the balance of that promised payment some three
years later.
According to the Union, this certainly is not the posture of a worker-friendly
or union-friendly government.
Again, the Union says it recognizes that Browne’s statement is a deflection
from the failures of his administration. But its members are committed and

not easily swayed by threats, lies, and foolish enticements, the bargaining
agent adds.
In the meantime, the Union will remain focused on its mandate to protect the
rights of workers and to improve their conditions of work. It is not guided,
nor blinded, by any political agenda, it asserts, and will continue to resist all
attempts to erode the rights of workers and to undermine its role.