WIOC workers on ‘solidarity’ strike

WIOC tankers (File photo)

Line staff at the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) are on strike.  The strike began at around 8 am  this morning, with the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU) telling workers already on the job to go back home.

AT&LU Industrial Relations Officer Ralph Potter said the industrial action is in solidarity with Richard Samuel who was fired in June. Potter says the AT&LU and the workers are protesting against what he says is the unfair and unlawful dismissal of Samuel. A WIOC manager told OBSERVER media today that about 20 workers had followed the union’s instructions.

Samuel, the former Operator in the Terminal Department was also a shop steward. Potter says Samuel’s firing is “one of the most wicked acts” he has seen since he got into industrial relations in 1980. Potters tells OBSERVER media that while the firm has never officially accused Samuel of sabotage, it is being repeated among company employees that he was accused of sabotage.

When contacted about the strike, WIOC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gregory Georges would only say that he was trying to deal with the matter and would speak to OBSERVER media later. In June, the union had called for a probe and for Samuel to be reinstated pending the outcome of the investigation.