ST JOHN’S, Antigua – There is no resolution in sight for the employees at the Government workshop following a “disappointing” meeting between the union representative and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Works yesterday.
Antigua Trades and Labour Union Industrial Relations Officer Ralph Potter said the sit-in action at the Factory Road workshop would continue today pending a meeting sometime this morning with Minister of Public Works Trevor Walker.
“I had a meeting with the PS (Tuesday morning) but that didn’t resolve anything, because he didn’t seemed to be too concerned about anything. I have since spoke to the minister and he has said he wants to be briefed by the PS and sometime this morning we should be able to speak again so that’s where we are,” Potter said.
“We are quite resolute in the position we have taken and we are going to see what comes out of the further discussions tomorrow (today) … the action is still ongoing … we want a final resolution to the whole situation, the matter has been going on for far too long,” Potter added.
For a week now they have been staging a sit-in to press for risk pay but so far no member of management has tried to negotiate an end to the protest.
Potter said endless phone calls and letters seeking negotiations had beforehand failed to even evoke an acknowledgement from Public Works ministry.
He said that despite people receiving risk pay for more than 10 years, Public Works management has sought to discontinue the allowance, saying it was unauthorised.
The union is arguing that after such a long time, the stipend has now become part of the payroll and must not be scrapped.