Laid off Lee Wind staff to get first priority in Harris deal

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Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez has declared that workers sent home by embattled paint company, Lee Wind Paints Ltd, may not be without employment for long and will be given first preference for employment with Harris Paints.
 “One of the things that we have asked them (Harris Paints) and they have agreed to is that those people (laid off Lee Wind Paints Ltd. workers) would be interviewed first. I can’t guarantee that everyone will be taken but they have given us an undertaking that those people will be interviewed first for positions here,” Fernandez said in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media on Wednesday. 
Fernandez said that he was unable to say that the continuation of the Lee Wind brand will be a part of the new deal but he can assure the general public that manufacturing of paint will continue in Antigua once all parties are able to complete the agreement.
The minister expressed the hope that initiative will be off the ground as early as the first quarter of next year.
The staff of Lee Wind Paints was put on notice by management that the company was unable to pay salaries for May and June.
The company also said in a letter dated June 29, that it would be temporarily closings its doors as of that date. The letter issued to the employees was signed by the Managing Director Hugh Marshall Sr. It also informed the workers that the company had no idea where it will obtain funds to pay salaries.
The letter also pointed out that in the months of February and April, the government, a shareholder, assisted in meeting those salary payments. The letter further indicated that it was unacceptable to continue to seek the government’s assistance because of an agreement signed October 30, 2014, between the majority shareholder, Renee Phillips and Cosmos Phillips Jr., to transfer shares to the government in exchange for tax arrears.
But, the transfer which would have made the government the majority shareholder, never occurred.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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