Browne wants unions to be reasonable in their demands to Gov’t

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party and Prime Minister Gaston Browne used Labour Day activities today, to implore bargaining agents to be considerate in negotiations with the government on behalf of its members

Browne said his newly re-elected government is committed to the empowerment of the working class but Unions must be reasonable in their demands

The government is still negotiating with the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers after they demanded security, reclassification, and other requirements from the government after staying off the job for eight days

Talks are also expected to continue on Tuesday with the executive of the Nurses Association whose members also threatened industrial action.

“I ask our workers to be reasonable. I ask you to engage us constructively because we are not taking the position that we are not giving any increases. The issue is how much? And again, we asked you to be reasonable because if you act or you make demands that are unreasonable, that’s beyond the means of the government, then it will be self-defeating because you will force the government to retrench. On the other hand, it could be inflationary in that if prices increase too soon and by a larger amount, it could increase prices and that again will be self-defeating,” Browne said

The prime minister said as far as he is concerned, the teacher’s strike was not necessary and that it had a serious impact on students.

“Just recently with the teachers, I said to them, all of the demands that you have made, we have satisfied those demands even before we satisfy them, we gave a commitment to satisfy them. We did not argue that we did not wish to meet the demands, and yet still, many of them took the destructive action of striking for almost two weeks, literally depriving our students of two weeks of contact time. I say to the people of this country, the workers in this country, that that type of behavior is self-defeating. There is no value in fighting a government that is cooperating with you. Again, as I said before, we are a worker’s organization,” Browne said

Browne said he is hoping that when the other unions come forward to negotiate, they will have a more constructive approach and be reasonable with their demands…” to make sure that we can give increases that are sustainable. I say here, too, that as we continue to grow this country’s economy will continue to give increases to workers because we are committed to increasing incomes to make sure that Antiguans and Barbudans enjoy living standards that are second to none. You can see how we have invested in the empowerment of our people,”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the ABLP E.P Chet Greene says the world is currently at a crossroads and the time to be patriotic is now.

Greene told the massive gathering that Antigua and Barbuda has not been exempted from the challenges that are faced globally and what’s required today is for all hands to be on deck

“What’s required now is responsible thinking and a responsible attitude. I want to thank the teachers who at the end of the negotiations realized that the path they were going down was not the right path for our country. I want to thank the nurses who realized that dialogue is what you use to solve any and every problem. As the nation’s foreign minister, I can tell you that is how the world is kept together, through dialogue, through negotiations”

Greene said there are talks from some circles that the police are also planning industrial action against the government.

“I hear them now trying to plan some kind of domino effect from teachers to nurses to police. Let me say to us, it makes absolutely no sense. Let me remind us again, our country’s economy is dependent on tourism. If we stifle and shut down the tourism plant, how will the teachers get paid?, How will then nurses get paid?  In other words, I’m saying to you, we all have a share and a stake in what’s at stake right now. We all have to work together to ensure that we come through this global, difficult period together, united and stronger”, he added

Adding, “Antigua will emerge to the next level after this global chaos…And so this morning, as we celebrate Labor Day 2023, it is incumbent on all of us to hold together to stay together, to work together, remembering this is the same government that brought you deep water harbor. The same government that brought you UWI. The same government brought you cancer center and so many more important public sector developments”

And General Secretary of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union Alrick Daniel told supporters that the country continues to “bounce back” because of political stability and they should not renege on that support

“We have had many troubles but we have always overcome…Many CARICOM brothers and sisters have made Antigua and Barbuda their home and joined the workforce because of economic strength and political stability”, he said

He said now is the time to preserve the integrity of the country’s economic strength for the benefit of the country

“There will always be problems and disputes but the AT&LU will always be there as an advocate for workers in this country. We have fought to protect the rights of workers but we do so utilize the tools available to us,” he explained


  1. Craig Wyre

    We surrounded by idiots

  2. Man on the sea

    So gaston clown your son must make 30 to $40,000 per month and public servants, teachers/nurses ext suppose to continue living hand to mouth? You’re a wicked demon .


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