UPP and ABWU working on legislation to protect workers’ severance

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Jamal Pringle has said that while Labour Day is expected to be a time of celebration for the working population, both private and public sector employees here continue to be marginalized.

Pringle is pointing fingers at the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, saying that they have failed to uplift the very said persons who are responsible for driving the economy.

Pringle told a Labour Day march this morning that the UPP stands ready to put measures in place to assist workers on the island

“As we celebrate today, I want to reaffirm our commitment, that we, the United Progressive Party, will continue to work with the Antigua Barbuda Workers Union to put policies in place that are geared towards bettering the lives of the working class,” Pringle said

Pringle said he has been holding talks with the ABWU, in an effort to formulate new legislations to protect the working class

“Many of them would have lost their severance because of COVID. So we are working on a bill to take to Parliament to protect the working class severance.  But we are not going to do so blindly. We will continue to consult with all stakeholders to ensure that we have the support of the employers as well. We want to ensure that the future of Antigua and Barbuda as it relates to our workers is secure,” the UPP leader said

He said the UPP’s presence at the ABWU’s Labour Day rally had nothing to do with “grandstanding” but instead to show commitment to the workers in Antigua and Barbuda

“This is the time for us to show the workers that without them, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is nothing. It’s time for us as employers to show the workers that we care. It’s time for all of us to unite in the cause of bettering the wages of our workers,” Pringle added.

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the ABWU David Massiah in his usual fiery delivery told those gathered at the union’s headquarters in Newgate Street, that workers in the country are “fed-up” with the government.

“In July 2020 the prime minister promised he would bring back LIAT and the workers would have shares in the new company but what we are seeing is that none of this has happened. What has happened is that the working class of this country is suffering more and more,” Massiah said

He said the government also promised that LIAT would have been in administration for 120 days but it has been over 400 days

“This matter of LIAT has been in secrecy and the administrator continues to be paid but the workers are home without anything. The prime minister of this country continues to bullyrag the LIAT workers to take the compassionate payment offer they have put on the table. This is why we have to continue to march against this type of oppressive government,” he said

Massiah said the government continuously beats its chest about being friends with the workforce but “they have done nothing” to protect them.

“We need a country where the government will sit down and navigate the waters of these perilous times. We have to make sure that when we match we are sending a message to the government that we are fed up…they are only seeking to fatten themselves…” he said

Other members of the ABWU and the UPP also spoke at this morning’s gathering which followed a No Trust March around St Johns.


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