Employers and employees cautioned about the voting process

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As the date for the general election draws closer, the head of the country’s largest trade union is appealing to employers and employees to respect what the law says about the voting process.
The appeal from Hugh Joseph, general secretary of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) followed a release from the Labour Department regarding time off to vote on election day, March 21.
According to the department, in accordance with section 34 of the Representation of the People Amendment Act 2001, “Every employer shall, on polling day, allow every voter a period of four consecutive hours for voting and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such voter or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.”
The department further advised that “Any employer who, directly or indirectly refuses or by intimidation, undue influence or in any way, interferes with the granting to any voter in his employ of such period of voting, as this section provided, shall be guilty of an offence, and on summary conviction liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars, or to imprisonment not exceeding twelve months.”
Joseph is asking employers to respect the law by giving the workers the time off to exercise their democratic rights, at the same time he is encouraging workers to be reasonable with the time given.
“If you happen to go to the polling station and you are finished within an hour, return to your place of work, do not say that you have four hours and you do your own thing. Have the discussion within the workplace so that it can be properly organised as to who is going, to limit the number of people going at any given time,” Joseph said.

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