After a high-level meeting concerning last Friday’s row at the Labour Department, it has been decided that once they are “properly attired”, the workers can wear jeans on Fridays.
Union representatives, top Labour Department officials and Minister of Labour Steadroy Benjamin held a meeting yesterday to discuss the fallout that ultimately led to the presence of law enforcement being requested at the department, based on reports last week.
The discussion was triggered after Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas reportedly got into a verbal altercation with a few staff members about how they were dressed.
She was apparently displeased that they were wearing jeans, after she reportedly informed the staff the day before that they would not be permitted to wear them to work on Fridays anymore.
Rojas has not addressed the issue publicly – and has not responded to requests for comment – but she was present in the meeting, which Benjamin said ended with “the staff and the management alike [being] extremely pleased with the outcome”.
“I am pleased to report that there is peace and calm in the Labour Department,” the minister said as he revealed that from today, “Friday is regarded as a day when persons are allowed to come to work once they are properly attired and once the dress meets decency and represents the Labour Department.”
General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association Janela Evanson confirmed the decision, adding that the workers are permitted to wear jeans once the jeans are not “distressed, [they are] dressed appropriately and dressed appropriately for work”.
“There must be no markings on the jeans, no colourful jeans, no distressed jeans,” Evanson detailed further.
The General Secretary said further that another meeting will be held next week to discuss increasing the work hours in the division.
“The Labour Department is currently working [until] 2 o’clock because of the conditions they are working under down there,” she said.
“So, the government has been very instrumental in making the environment fit to work. Some upgrades and so on have been done and presently we are going through what was noted to be done to ensure that the Labour Department is fully equipped for them to go back to work [until] 4.30pm.”