ABS staff told to work holiday weekend or face arrest

ABS staff during recent protest/ Newsco Photo

Attached is a voice note sent to ABS workers from shop steward, Kerrio Adams.

LETTER FROM ABS STAFF: Adams had previously written a letter which was signed by some employees stating they would not work on holidays which is their right to do especially given they have not been paid previously.


However, workers are being threatened by the Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin to work or face jail time. It sounds like slavery is coming back.


We all know ABS isn’t keen on paying the workers that have earned management stellar accolades by members of the government but supervisors have been calling SOME employees requesting they write up their overtime for the periods they would’ve worked after the recent strike.


One employee said every overtime that was owed to him, he already got but he was still being called to write up his overtime.


This shows how susceptible the system is to abuse as anyone can quote any figure for overtime and therefore get more than what is owed to them while others less favoured by management get nothing. Does management not keep a record of when people work? Or is that only done for punitive purposes?


Also, concerning “essential workers” being obligated to work on public holidays, they are also required to be paid. So how is it that the Attorney General is ordering people to work knowing the employees are owed for years and offer no word on settling previous debts? Mind you, this is the guy who is seeking to draw out the legal process of getting the court issue with these workers settled but he wants to whip them into working.


The former Attorney General Justin Simon, QC who was the AG at the time the Essential Services Act would have been passed said essential workers can strike provided that it is not a “major dispute.”


The Act defines what a major dispute is, ” (3) A trade dispute is presumed to be a major dispute if it is one that is seriously jeopardising or is likely to seriously jeopardise the health or safety of persons in Antigua and Barbuda or the economy of Antigua and Barbuda in an essential service.”


When ABS workers striked, life continued as it was without having the impact outlined in the law so where is the AG getting his interpretation from thinking workers can’t strike or stage other forms of industrial action? Even the classification of ABS as “essential” is disputed.


I’d believe the interpretation of the attorney with the “QC” attached to his name who has never been embroiled in a passport fraud scandal is more credible than the sitting AG who does not seem to understand the Essential Services Act while seeking to abuse it.

I am asking for the Prime Minister to intervene on the matter because it has all gone too far.

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  1. Look dey now, chickens coming home to roost.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for the political mouth piece of the government. In the past ABS did all the bidding for them with so much biased reporting – AND NOW THEY UPSET WITH THE ABLP? TAL!

  2. What?? Arrested for standing up for what is theirs?
    How is it that the Attorney General isn’t getting together with the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Communications and the Minister of Finance and working out how these workers can receive what has been owed to them over this long period of time? Then bring a package that is workable to the table and ask the workers if they would accept it and come back out to work?
    To threaten them with arrest? No Mr. Attorney General, that is not right.

  3. …If it smells like a duck,
    …quack like a duck,
    …walk like a duck,
    …it’s a duck!

    Whoa Dankey! Whoa Jackass!
    This is not China, to rass!
    Antiguans & Barbudans, tek WARNING! Tek plentee WARNING!
    A new day and way of control is on the horizon, and it’s coming ashore like a #Mental #Tsunami!

  4. Do you notice how black people are abused in this country and some of them will still vote for their abusers. Do I have to ask if a certain prime minister’s son works for the government if he doesn’t get paid on time.

  5. Bloated Ten Yards,why you do not pay the people their damn money. What they should do,call out sick with a Doctor’s note. Can you arrests anyone for calling out sick even though it is a so called essential service. Why is ABS an essential service? How many people watch that TV Station or listen to that Radio Station? Answer:Less than a dozen people.LOL

  6. I’m not sorry for them workers. Them a de same set a people who will not allow the opposition to say one word on ABS; and many a them would rather lie down dead than to strike against them government. TEK DAT.

  7. In the words of Smarty Jr, (We draw the line. We draw the battle line. We can’t take this crime, not this time. So this time, this time, WE draw the line…)

  8. Seven years after I was forced out of ABS, the problems still persists and are getting worst. It is very evident that as long as Heckle (Dunceford) and Jeckle (Hellamae) are at the reigns, there will be no peace in the valley for anyone. Just ask the more than 75 former staff members who have either quit, resigned, seconded, DIED, transferred or forced to retire since 2014…..

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