While the actual misinformation may never be known, it’s now being said that the strike mounted by about 15 bus drivers on Tuesday was prompted by rumour.
The action surprised scores of school children and forced them to find their own way home, but in a meeting held at the Antigua Workers Union (AWU) offices yesterday, the drivers learnt that they had been steered in the wrong direction.
However, General Secretary of AWU David Massiah wouldn’t repeat the misinformation.
“The most important thing is for us to know that the matter has, in our position, been addressed. The employees were able to air their concerns to the union. The union heard the concerns raised, addressed it and clarified it … so that was basically addressed with the workers,” Senator Massiah said.
The drivers were back at the wheels on Wednesday morning with the expectation that they would go to see their AWU representative during their break. The meeting was also attended by their boss, General Manager of Antigua & Barbuda Transport Board Harry Josiah, who Senator Massiah said was able to satisfy the drivers that their concerns were already well in hand.
“We did not want to have or seemingly develop any sort of friction between management and the staff,” Massiah said afterward.
The bus drivers’ haste into industrial action mode contrasted with their resolve to let their union handle the questions, directing The Daily OBSERVER, as had Josiah, to ask the AWU the reason they took industrial action, but as earlier stated, the senator has refused to disclose the reason the drivers withheld their services. So no one involved has yet said what the misinformation was.
Massiah also wouldn’t say what issues are still outstanding that the workers felt weren’t being addressed.
“There are a number of outstanding matters stemming from various forms of conditions of employment, which we have been addressing, and so the position (taken) this morning (Wednesday) I guess, with management being present, that they had an opportunity to air some of those grievances again,” Massiah said.
The action on Tuesday and notification of the subsequent meeting on Wednesday prompted Transport Board and the Ministry of Education to make alternate arrangements to get students to and from school in case the strike was resumed. Those arrangements never became necessary.