By Orville Williams
The Antigua & Barbuda Free Trade Union (ABFTU) says it is “surprised” by the response from the management of Caribbean Union Bank (CUB) to the recommendations put forward by the Labour Department, toward resolving the tension between the bank and some of its employees.
The long-standing tension came to a head two weeks ago, when staff at the Friars Hill Road and Factory Road branches took industrial action due to stalled negotiations on salary increases.
This is one of the many issues the union is attempting to resolve on the employees’ behalf, along with others surrounding paternity leave and mutual separation.
Following a meeting between the parties the same week of the protest action, the Labour Department was expected to make recommendations on the way forward, as a consensus could not be reached.
These recommendations have since been made, according to President of the ABFTU, Samuel James, but the bank’s response to them, he says, is “telling”.
James told Observer that the union received the bank’s response yesterday and while he did not disclose what the response or the recommendations were, he insisted that the union would speak on them publicly in a matter of days.
“The union is still mulling over its best course of action, in light of a correspondence we just received today [Tuesday] from the bank, in reference to the recommendations made by the Labour Department.
“It’s a telling document and I can say I am surprised at the content of the document … we will have a full position on it, I believe, before the end of this week.”
James told Observer further, that the employees had not yet seen the document, but discussions would be held on the content as soon as possible.
The union head had previously stated that the recommendations coming from the Labour Department were not legally binding, meaning either party could choose whether to accept or reject them.