Security workers, who are forced to work in unsanitary conditions and without receiving regular wages, are being reminded that there are provisions within the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Code to protect their interest.
The advice from Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas comes as the department continues to deal with an influx of reports from guards who are not satisfied with their terms of employment, but have refused to pursue action against the employer.
In a recent interview, she stated that the department has been at pains to remind workers in this category that they are not obligated to continue working under unsatisfactory terms.
“I do understand that the security guards are having issues, but I continue to advocate for them not to continue to feed or assist the wrongdoing of their employer by continuing in the employment,” Rojas said.
The labour commissioner said workers who find themselves in this position can legally resign claiming constructive dismissal, citing they are being forced out of work and was placed in a position where their employment could not be continued.
“The relationship, I would say would inevitably end. The law allows for the labour commissioner to initiate proceedings against delinquent employers, but obviously there has to be some co-operation on the part of the employees. The affected employees mostly come forward after the relationship has broken down,” Rojas said.
She also said the majority of people affected by late payment continue to work out of fear they may lose out on their outstanding balance.
Rojas said the issue is also compounded by the fact that most security guards are non-nationals who are willing to continue working instead of being out of a job.