The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code will undergo long overdue changes, according to Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas.
She revealed to state media that the National Labour Board is extensively reviewing the code and is in the process of completing its work.
“There will be major changes to the code of the government agrees with the recommendation,” she said.
She spoke to Division E of the code, which addresses workspaces such as factories and the Agriculture Industry which was once a part of Antigua and Barbuda’s decades-old era.
“Even the Workmen’s Compensation Act tends not to reflect our current reality in the world of work. The Workmen’s Compensation Act has been on the card for review. It’s just that it has taken longer than expected”, she added.
She also shared that Antigua and Barbuda, compared to other islands, is a relatively safe workplace.
“We have ratified more conventions than the United States of America and we compete heavily across the region and further afield. People would not necessarily want to come here if it wasn’t a safe place to work,
“We are in a way better place as workers in Antigua and Barbuda than elsewhere. The issue we have in Antigua and Barbuda is really ensuring that all of these international standards are actually enshrined in law and that there are penalties attached to breaking them”, Rojas said.
Unions on the island have long called for an urgent review of the national Labour Code.
General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah is one such individual who has repeated calls for a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to workers’ rights.
Massiah has stated in the past that the government should not seek to amend labour legislation in a fragmented manner, but it must be reviewed as a wholesale package.
The Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers has also repeated several calls for the same purpose.