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By Theresa Goodwin

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Workers at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort have given the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) the right to negotiate with the company for their full severance and other benefits.

The union met with workers yesterday to update them on a severance claim which was submitted to the company months ago, and other outstanding matters that are now before the High Court.

Deputy General Secretary of the ABWU, Chester Hughes, told Observer the union had written to resort bosses months ago requesting information regarding severance and other work-related benefits for the employees.

He said Jolly Beach had been given until June 22 to respond to the claim. The meeting with the workers, ahead of the deadline, was to determine how the union will proceed with the matter.

Hughes said the talks were also held to dispel rumours that the company has been sold.

“We are anticipating receiving those calculations very soon from the property and then we will begin earnestly to discuss with the management as to how, when and where severance payments can be collected,” he added.

The workers are clamouring for their full severance and other entitlements. A little over 400 workers are employed with the resort.

Hughes said the company will be required to submit to the union the names of the workers who are due severance and the amount owed, and this will be verified by the ABWU in consultation with the hotel workers.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed that the government was entering into talks with potential buyers for the resort, including an American group which is said to be keen on investing in the hotel.

The government owns the majority stake in the property.

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