Truck drivers’ pay increase on hold

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The upgrade in pay for some drivers which led to other Public Works Department drivers protesting in two days of a go-slow have been put on hold, for the time being.
Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) Industrial Relations Officer, Ralph Potter, said this was agreed upon at a meeting held yesterday with the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Clarence Pilgrim, and the shop stewards at Public Works.
Potter said that only two or three employees were upgraded, a move that took him by surprise.
“That went against the grain of what we have been working with the ministry to resolve. A lot of the employees who have been there for many years, and whose situation we are looking at, feel very strongly that while they had to wait a very long time, a couple of people who just came into the system were almost immediately given upgrades,” Potter said.
He added that the upgrades have since been put on hold so that the ongoing negotiations can take effect. Formal communication is expected to be received before the end of next week to reflect what will go into effect.
Meanwhile, Potter said that he and the shop stewards have been meeting to discuss broad proposals on the upgrades.
“Before that final document is sent off to Public Works, we will have one more meeting just to review it to make sure we have all the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted and the Ministry of Works should receive the document within the course of [next] week,” he stated.
About 15 truck drivers who work at Tomlinson’s protested on Thursday because they want increased pay from the Public Works Department.
The drivers who were tasked with delivering asphalt to various parts of the country say that they were deliberately going at snail’s pace to press their point.
Their discontent lies in what they see as a deliberate attempt by the government to undermine their efforts.
On Thursday, when the two-day go-slow began, the Minister of Public Works, Lennox Weston, said that the protest did not severely affect the operations because the complement of private trucks was increased. (Tameika Malone)

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