Public service association meets with members

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The Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA) will be making a second attempt to meet with its members today to discuss outstanding back pay and increasing the minimum salary for public servants.
The union circulated a notice to all public servants on the weekend, indicating that the “urgent meeting” would be held at 9 a.m. at the Moravian Conference Centre, Cashew Hill.
The ABPSA had initially called an emergency meeting at the Botanical Gardens on March 16 to consult with its membership over what action should be taken to resolve the outstanding back pay, following a response from government’s negotiating team which advised the union that there had been no final decision on a proposal the ABPSA gave them to resolve the back-pay issue.
Before the meeting got underway, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his colleague, Social Transformation Minister, Samantha Marshall, showed up uninvited.
The prime minister then addressed the meeting and tried to dissuade the workers from taking any action on the eve of the March 21 general elections. Browne told the workers that the back-pay issue would be addressed and that the union was being unfair to the government to press the matter before an election.
Earlier this month, the association rejected government’s proposal of a one-month salary, free of deductions, to cover outstanding backpay. In its counterproposal, the union requested three times the amount noting that the workers would lose if they accepted the offer.
While the government’s negotiating team has not come up with a figure for the outstanding backpay, Sandra Williams, the ABPSA general secretary has claimed that the outstanding backpay to public servants amounts to $124 million.

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