Burma Quarry workers give gov’t deadline to make payments

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Workers at the Burma Quarry are making a pre-emptive request to the government of Antigua and Barbuda to pay outstanding monies owed to them.
They told OBSERVER that they are giving the government until Thursday of this week to settle all outstanding payments for overtime in full before they take more forceful action to express their grievance.
“Twenty-two workers work up here and they only paid nine,” said shop steward Michal Peters.
Despite the effort made by the Ministry of Works late last week, the quarrymen are demanding “equal rights and justice”, as stated by Peters, and they will not be accepting less than what is owed. “Not no one month money or two-month money,” the shop steward warned.
Two weeks ago, the workers engaged in a go-slow and work-to-rule to press for overtime pay owed to them by refusing to work beyond their designated regular work hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The men are reportedly owed overtime pay for over a year.
Last week, officials from the Ministry of Works issued a statement declaring that all workers, including truck drivers, had received payments. It later corrected this to indicate that 11 of the quarry workers had not yet been paid, but the Works Ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury Department to bring the payments up to date.
However, latest information from the aggrieved quarrymen is that 13 of them are yet to receive any of that money.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works Clarence Pilgrim also said in the press release that steps were being taken to ensure that overtime payments are met with some degree of regularity, but he also made sure to state in the press release that payments will be made in stages.
Nevertheless, in an effort to stand up for all who are affected, the workers said they will pursue another course of action with help from the Antigua Trades and Labour Union if their demands are not met by Thursday.

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