Staff at the Antigua State College (ASC) staged a sit-in yesterday to protest the deplorable conditions of some of the facilities at the Golden Grove campus.
The staff – which include clerical, administrative and auxiliary workers, and those at the Engineering Department – have been complaining for months about mold and lack of proper ventilation in some of the classrooms, and poor state of the bathrooms.
“I received a call about industrial action happening at the State College and I was taken around by staff, showing the conditions such as mold existing in the buildings; termites, and holes created by rats, in the building,” Hugh Joseph, General Secretary of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) told Observer.
According to Joseph, during a general meeting held previously with the management and staff of the ASC, he was shown a document which outlined the infrastructural issues facing the institution.
Joseph said the document, produced in September 2018, outlined the same issues that workers have been complaining about.
“In the document, that was done as recently as September 2018, there were several issues outlined, including faulty electrical wiring. However, up to this point, things have not been addressed and the workers have reached a point where they decided that it is enough,” he said.
The ASC principal, Hyram Forde, reportedly told Joseph that he has been unsuccessfully trying for years to have the Ministry of Public Works rectify the infrastructural problems.
Joseph said that despite being told by the principal that the issues were being addressed, workers will continue to protest until such improvements were made to the buildings.
“Until such time that things are addressed, the staff will continue to protest because they cannot continue to work in those conditions where persons are falling ill,” he said, adding that he was concerned about the lack of a clear timeline for repair on the dilapidated buildings to resume.