Trade unions call for comprehensive review of labour practices

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A high-ranking official of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) has repeated calls for a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to workers’ rights.

The union’s General Secretary, David Massiah made the comments during the Antigua and Barbuda Trade Union Congress rally, whose theme was “Trade Unions Against Unfair Labour Practices.”

Massiah said that the government should not seek to amend labour legislation in a fragmented manner, but it must be reviewed as a wholesale package.

“I am asking the Minister of Labour to ensure that he goes to Cabinet to ensure that the legislations that are for workers – the

[occupational]

health and safety, the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code – are placed before Parliament. Not in a piecemeal manner, but the whole process must be positioned,” he said.

Despite his calls for the whole review of the legislation, Massiah applauded the administration for addressing the labour issue relating to Scotiabank.

“But I welcome your decision to take certain aspect in light of the challenges we are facing with the multinational [corporations], such as Scotiabank, to indicate to them that our people are not commodities. The people in Antigua and Barbuda are not for free sale, but we must have that right,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ashworth Azille, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, called for the entire labour force to stand in solidarity with each other against bad labour practices, as he lamented the lack of attendance by workers at the Labour Day rallies.

“It would be remiss of me if I did not point out that we struggle to have good gathering of workers at this Workers rally. One begs the question, where do our priorities lie? The union is not about the elected officials only. The strength of the union resides solely with the body of workers who are holding up their leaders as they go along,” he said.

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