The ongoing pay dispute between the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and its workers is now before the Industrial Court. The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) filed the court documents last week on behalf of the workers it represents.
This most recent development came weeks after the management of the statutory body and the workers’ representative met before the Labour Department in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the matter.
Deputy General Secretary of the ABWU Chester Hughes said the union took the legal route because the two parties failed to reach an amicable settlement to the ongoing dispute.
“We have filed the matter in the Industrial Court last Friday and we have also served the filing on the company. APUA has been duly served that this matter is now in the Industrial Court,” Hughes said.
The union official also stated that the matter, which has been ongoing for quite some time, stems from the company’s misinterpretation of an agreement on salaries which both the union and APUA signed in 2017.
He said as per the agreement, the increase of seven percent should have been paid throughout the life of the contract, the said increase is also inclusive of a 2.5 percent contributory thrift fund.
Hughes explained that the statutory corporation is now reneging on the agreement after indicating that it does not intend to pay seven percent.
“They have signed a seven percent increase plus a thrift fund for the workers and we are not going to let them continue to delay this thrift fund. We want the thrift fund for the workers and they have signed for the increase and they just have to pay it,” Hughes said.