Union calls on security guards to agitate

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A trade unionist is calling on workers at security companies to stoke the “fire in their bellies” and agitate for an end to the practice of having to arrive at work an hour early to facilitate assignment.

According to Deputy General Secretary of Antigua Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) Chester Hughes, the union has had the problem on its radar for months.

“A number of security companies are compelling employees to be at the security location for one hour prior to posting. So, for example, the employee is scheduled to work for 8 o’clock, but they have to be at the security company’s location for 7 o’clock to know where they are going to be posted to work,” he said.

Hughes said, “It is an unfair practice and it has to be dealt with seriously,” adding, “Workers must come together to get

organised and they must agitate to make those changes.”

Hughes was being interviewed by OBSERVER media for his take on a recent judgment in a European court which determined that the time spent travelling to work should be treated as work. However, in the case in question, the company’s employees did not have a fixed office and had

to spend several hours travelling to their first assignment.

Hughes said that while the ruling could not be applied to Antigua & Barbuda at face value, the judgement “augers well” for the situation with local security workers, who he believes should be compensated if they have to be at the employer’s premises an hour early.

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