ABDB workers stage protest in support of employee ordered to leave the premises, but management rescinds order after union’s intervention

Workers at the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank, a government-
operated institution, mounted industrial action on Thursday morning, May 16,
over a “strange” issue involving a co-worker. However, before day’s end, the
employee and the staff who had stood in solidarity with her had all returned
to the job following an intervention from their union.

REAL News correspondent George Wehner was on the scene on St. Mary’s
Street, where the bank workers had gathered, and spoke with Industrial
Relations Officer Hugh Joseph from the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union.
Joseph explained that a female employee had applied for two days’ vacation
leave, on May 14 and May 16, respectively. Allegedly, after having made the
application, the employee was approached by management on May 10 with a
very odd request: that she provide a reason for the two days’ holiday. And
although the request was not in keeping with labour laws or practice, the
employee reportedly complied.

Despite this, the bank employee claimed that she never received any response
to her application, not even from the manager who had made the request.
Accordingly, she turned up to work as usual on May 14 and worked

On Thursday, however, when she showed up, the woman reportedly was
approached by the same manager, who requested that she withdraw the
application for vacation or leave the building.

At this point, Joseph says, the Union intervened on behalf of the employee and
reached out to the human resources manager, who reportedly indicated she
was not aware of the matter and requested some time to look into it.
Even after this, Joseph claims, the other manager again went to the worker
and asked her to leave the building.

If retraction of the vacation-leave application is a policy of the bank, Joseph
pointed out, the employee’s presence did not place the institution in any
jeopardy – even if the request was not complied with right away.
He noted that the employee had not been found guilty of any misconduct or
any other infraction to be treated in such a manner.  

That was Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union Industrial Relations
Officer Hugh Joseph in a report by correspondent George Wehner.

The bank subsequently rescinded the decision to ask the worker to leave the
premises; and a meeting between the Union and the bank’s management – on
this matter – is to be held shortly.