ABS workers’ claims for unpaid overtime and holiday pay set for trial in July

Erna-Mae Brathwaite
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Following a series of reconciliation meetings dating back to December 2020, a date is now set for ABS workers to be heard in court after a ruling by the president of the industrial court.

Charlesworth Brown made the ruling on Friday afternoon after months of court-ordered meetings for the staff and management of ABS Television/ Radio to mediate the issues regarding outstanding overtime and holiday pay to about 45 current employees and 25 ex-employees.

Shop steward at the state-run media house Kerrio Adams told Observer that the employees have been asking for the payment of these outstanding monies dating back to 2015, and management is claiming the Ministry of Information approved the outstanding monies and staff were paid. Staff at the media house are denying these claims.

For months, this case has been before the industrial courts with the president ordering management back in April to furnish the courts and staff with original source documents including timesheets, sign-in logbooks, vouchers that were sent to the Treasury and the receipt of a cheques logbook for verification purposes. The only thing that they have received to date are spreadsheets and printouts of unofficial documents, said Adams.

With the case now going to trial, and the dates set for July 22 and July 28, staff can be brought in to testify and speak on their behalf in court.

Adams said, “I am happy we getting to go to trial, because it will give us full disclosure and all the information that we need.”

Another staff member said, “The provision of the source documents is very important, and the Information Ministry has not been forthcoming.”

Adams said all the staff is asking for is the original documents so that they can line up all the information documented and establish a paper trail from management to Treasury if the monies have been paid.

When contacted for comment, ABS’ General Manager Erna-Mae Braithwaite said there was no comment to be made at this time as they are currently in conciliation.

Staff are being represented by Senior Industrial Relations Officer at the Antigua Trades and Labour Union, Ralph Potter. He was not reachable for comment up to news time.

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