One of the leading trade unionists on the island, David Massiah, has said that the labour force in Antigua and Barbuda is “chaotic and in disarray”
Massiah, the General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union was speaking ahead of Labour Day celebrations to be observed here on Monday.
“A lot of their [workers’] issues are not being addressed and it seems to be deteriorating. The role that the government has to play is one that is not forthcoming in addressing the myriad of problems and challenges that the working class and the entire nation do face at this time,” Massiah said on Observer radio
Massiah said although Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke of growth in the economy, there is no concrete evidence
“Workers are suffering. The government has not addressed the high cost of living. Yes, it is all over the world but they have not done anything to cushion the impact on the working class in Antigua and Barbuda”, he said
Massiah argued that instead of working together with the union, Prime Minister Gaston Browne continues to accuse trade unions of being politically motivated.
“When the prime minister could be indicating that some of the trade unions are being filled by political operatives who are against the process, it is sad because it shows that you’re disconnected from what is happening on the ground. The powers that be needs to take the time to sit down and address, the issues…come and talk with the trade unions…” he said
Massiah said from all indications, workers in Antiguans and Barbudans are also disgruntled.
“We have no confidence in the government. It continues to demonstrate its disregard for the contribution of workers in building this economy,” Massiah said
Meanwhile, the ABWU will hold a march on Labour Day as part of its activities.
Massiah wants workers from all sectors to come out and demonstrate to the government, that enough is enough.
“We need workers in this land regardless of where you are, whatever the situation is to stand up, have a placard come Monday. We are going to march through the streets of St Johns. I’m inviting workers to join us,” Massiah added
The march will begin from the ABWU’s head office on Newgate Street, then move across Independence Avenue.
Gaston is beyond talking too. We the people of Antigua and Barbuda had the chance on January 18, 2023 to get rid of him out of office but we did not and now we are suffering. The majority of the population is earning under $2,500 monthly. Most of the population take home under $2,000 monthly in both private and government sectors. Health care is very expensive. Life, health and property insurance are very expensive too, especially those who have vehicle insurance. And to top it off foods , goods and APUA bills just finish your entire month salary in one week. I haven’t even mentioned bank mortgage payments yet.