Workers’ Union receives support from its strategic partner, who warns hotel workers to be aware and beware of the wiles of PM Brown

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union has received support from its
strategic partner, the United Progressive Party (UPP), in light of the sustained
attacks on the organization by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Since Labour Day, Browne has used his affiliated radio station to denigrate the
Union and try to undermine the confidence of its members. However, in his
most recent outing, the prime minister encouraged hotel workers to abandon
the Workers’ Union and form their own, and offered his assistance should they
decide to do so.

Browne even went as far as implying that he would make land available to the
new union started by hotel workers.

According to a statement from the UPP, “this latest move … coupled with the
inducement of Crown land for housing hits a new low.

“That the prime minister– for reasons of malice and ‘bad mind’ – would
blatantly hijack from the Workers’ Union and the Antigua Barbuda Hotels &
Tourist Association their plans for a housing project is despicable and reeks of
political quid pro quo,” the Party says.

It adds: “If the prime minister had any sense of shame, he would be ashamed.”

The UPP says Browne’s behaviour “goes against the grain of decency, respect
for workers, and statesmanship expected of the head of a party whose roots
are grounded in the Labour Movement.”

In its release, the Party goes on to warn hotel workers to “be aware and
beware,” given Browne’s track record.

It reminds them “of their treatment by Prime Minister Browne and his
Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic; of the disappointing decision
to set the minimum wage at a mere $9…; and, most telling, their mistreatment
of the former LIAT (1974) workers, who are still languishing for their
severance and other benefits… .”

Meanwhile, the Workers’ Union defends it record of addressing the challenges
that confront workers in real and tangible ways, while the Browne
Administration has failed to do so.

Accordingly, the Union urges the prime minister to pay attention to creating a
national plan for dealing with the impact of artificial intelligence on existing
jobs. It adds that a shrinking financial sector; rising unemployment; and the
displacement of the middle class are also matters that require the
Government’s urgent intervention.

The Union points out that it is playing its part in nation-building by investing
over $80,000 annually in training and developing workers across multiple
industries, including hospitality. In the meantime, it charges, the
Administration is focused on other issues that are of no benefit to the working

Meanwhile, the Union’s training officer has been hard at work executing a
robust calendar of workshops and seminars each year, the Union says. These
cover a variety of subjects, including “Occupational Safety and Health;”
“Division ‘C’ of the Labour Code;” and foreign languages.
Through its partner, the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies, it
has also facilitated scholarships for its members in disciplines such as
industrial relations; human resource management; and project management,
the Workers’ Union proudly reports.