Former SEMBCORP workers fate at stake at APUA

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The fate of six former SEMBCORP workers will be determined today at which time they will find out whether or not they will continue working with APUA. The workers, hoping to become full time Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) employees, had been sent home after their temporary contracts expired on May 30.
They were allegedly sent home because they reportedly declined to sign a permanent contract offered by APUA which took over ownership of SEMBCORP – that was privately owned – earlier this year.
According to a source in APUA, the workers were among a total of 13 who were offered permanent contracts with the statutory corporation.
The others who signed the agreement are on the job, but the six reportedly declined to sign amidst queries about which trade union should represent them. They have been sent home pending the outcome of negotia-tions.
A well-placed source in APUA said the main issue of contention is that the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union, which represented the employees when they worked with Sembcorp, does not want the workers to be covered by the Antigua Trades & Labour Union.
The APUA source says since a collective bargaining agreement already exists between APUA and the Labour Union for these six workers who fall in a particular category, the workers would automatically be covered by that organisation. They are however, free to sign up with any other union they choose.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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