Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) has assured workers in this country, that when the party is returned to office, the first order of business would be to pass the Protection of Equity Act.
“In that Act we will set up a severance fund so that every employer would be required to pay into the severance fund, so that if they go out of business, workers will not be left to suffer,” Senator Harold Lovell said yesterday.
Lovell, who was addressing the gathering as the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) celebrated its 50th anniversary, said the fund would be managed by the stakeholders to include the trade unions, Chamber of Commerce, the Employers Federation, the Bar Association, and the government.
He also said the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) convention on domestic workers would be ratified.
“Domestic workers get too much ‘ah knock ‘bout’ in Antigua & Barbuda, and so we are going to look out for those who cannot speak for themselves or stand up for themselves. We will ratify the ILO convention and that would give domestic workers rights they do not have now—rights to a basic wage which will not be the ‘pickaneggar’ change that is paid today,” Lovell said.
With the implementation of the law, the UPP political leader said domestic workers would be able to join a union without fear of being victimised.
He noted that another key area of focus will be to get terminated workers their dues after businesses abruptly closed. Mention was made of the Stanford, Half Moon Bay, Grand Princess, Elle Colonna and employees of other businesses still awaiting severance and entitlements years later.
The Stonewall sound system and Point Iron Band led the crowd that participated in the ABWU’s Labour Day march, which coincided with its celebrating 50 years of fighting for workers’ rights.
Many braved the intermittent light showers as the procession, accompanied by police officers, wended its way from Freedom Hall on Newgate Street, onto Wilkinson’s Cross, Baker’s Corner, St John’s Street, Cross Street, Government House to Independence Drive, Sir Vivian Richards Street, and culminated at Central Marketing Corporation.
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