Airport workers back on the job after strike action

Claims of discrepancy in retroactive pay caused airport workers to stop working on Wednesday for several hours. However, on advice from their union, they later resumed their tasks.

Their employer, The Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority (ABIA), has two weeks to make good on its agreement to pay the correct amounts to cover all of 2015.

The maintenance staff – janitors, storeroom and accounts clerks, air conditioning technicians, plumbers, mechanics, engineers, electricians, bus drivers, car park attendants, ramp sweepers, and truck drivers who reported to the V C Bird International Airport terminal from 6 am disputed the amount of money sent to the bank on May 31 to reflect their back pay for 2015.

On Wednesday, more than 40 employees gathered outside the Resource Centre, upstairs the old terminal building, demanding to know why the payment was nowhere close to the sums that were anticipated.

“The money should not have even been taxed; people say they get $88, $150 and even $450, but there is no way that money can be money to cover wage increase, vacation and overtime money for all of 2015,” one worker explained.

The Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), met with Permanent Secretary Edson Joseph and the ABIA for more than an hour to try and iron out the issues.

By 1:10 pm, the union had returned word to the disgruntled employees, who waited around refusing to return to their posts, that ABWU recommended someone to recalculate the sums and workers would receive word on the Authority’s decision when the union meets with the staff again tomorrow at noon.

“We have to stand in solidarity, you can’t have anyone telling you to go back to work when the matter is not resolved. If you show weakness, then they will walk all over you,” Senior Industrial Relations Officer Chester Hughes told workers, before telling them to return to their duties. “Do your work to your best and do it with a smile,” he added.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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