Workers at state media stage all out strike

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The top managers at the state-owned Antigua & Barbuda Broadcasting Services (ABS), as well as junior members of staff were called in on Thursday to man the operations as a core group of workers staged industrial action to drive home their demands for improved working conditions, overtime pay and other critical matters. V
ideo editors, reporters, technicians and other staff reported for work on Thursday, but gathered outside the building on Cross Street and refused to carry out their normal duties based on advice from their bargaining agent the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU). Others contacted their supervisors and reported sick. T
he workers are threatening to intensify the action in the coming days until they are able to secure an audience with Minister of Information and Broadcasting Melford Nicholas. Shop Steward Kerrio Adams explained that the action was sparked after the minister and permanent secretary failed to deliver on promises which were made during a meeting with staff in August. “We are owed outstanding overtime for two years; the PS was instructed to do a special warrant to get the money. We had another meeting with the PS and it would appear she has no idea of what we were talking about,” Adams said.
“As it relates the building in which [we] are required to work,” the shop steward said. Presently, there are certain bathrooms which are locked and when you have a building where 70 percent of the staff are females, that is not acceptable. There is also an issue with air circulation in the building and people are getting sick constantly.” As recently as last week, the government announced that the profits from the State Insurance Corporation would go towards the construction of a new prison and a new home for ABS.
The two bodies are to be allocated $2 million dollars each, according to the government. When he was asked about this development, Adams said while this is welcomed there is a number of improvements which could be done to make the workers more comfortable at the current location. The strike action will enter its second day today, and workers from the Ministry of Information’s headquarters in Coolidge and those at the GATE facility will be joining in solidarity as they push for similar issues which are also affecting them

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