Ruckus over ‘Friday jeans ban’ at Labour Department

Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas
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Several staff members at the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Department were asked to go home on Friday morning after showing up to work in jeans against the wishes of the Labour Commissioner.

According to staff at the department, Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas at a meeting on Thursday said, staff should desist from wearing jeans on Fridays because of a personal decision she made.

However, back in 2020, while Rojas was away in Italy for a trip, Deputy-Commissioner Pascal Kentish and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Stacey Gregg-Paige apparently came to an agreement with staff that jeans could be worn to work on Fridays provided they were smart and not distressed.

On arrival at the office today, Rojas reportedly asked staff who were attired in jeans to leave the building. As tensions grew, Rojas and an employee reportedly got into a verbal disagreement that got heated requiring staff to separate the women.

Rojas allegedly then called the police asking for their assistance to remove the staff members.

Currently, the staff remain on the premises of the Labour Department as they were instructed by the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association not to leave the building until they have been issued an official letter by the Labour Commissioner.

The Antigua Trades and Labour Union said they are aware of the situation, and they have sent a representative to the Labour Department to have discussions with the staff and the Labour Commissioner.

It is reported that the relationship between Rojas and staff has been strained for some time.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Rojas were contacted for comment but were engaged at the time and could not speak to Observer.

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