Antigua PM warns of layoffs if unions push for unrealistic wage increase


ST JOHN’S Antigua, CMC – Prime Minister Gaston Browne Monday warned of possible layoffs in the public service if trade unions continue to demand unrealistic higher wages for workers in Antigua and Barbuda.

“We know that there will be many challenges, but we will not be daunted by those challenges. We remain focused on transforming this country into an economic powerhouse,” Browne said, adding “but I say to you as workers that we must all gird our loins and join the battle, that there is no room for loafers and all must contribute.”

Addressing a Labour Day rally to mark the international day of workers, Browne said civil servants can be assured that his administration, which in 2018 gave a five per cent increase to workers, “we are committed to doing more than five per cent.

“We are about to conclude those negotiations and I am absolutely sure that at the end of the day when we would have resolved the issues…that we would be able to maintain the positive parity for workers.”

He said this was being done “amid very difficult circumstances” brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We could have said to public sector workers because of the devastating effects of COVID that we do not have the capacity to give an increase. There are many countries that have taken that position, but we are a work organisation and we recognise that we must go the extra mile to improve the lot of workers in this country.

“But 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 increases. The issue is how much and again we ask you to be reasonable.

“Because if you ask or make demands that are unreasonable that’s beyond the means of the government it will be self-defeating because you will force the government to retrench. On the other and it could be inflationary in that if prices increase too soon and by too large an amount it could increase prices and that again will be self-defeating.”

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. A Hitler he be! You’re going to layoff people because they’re asking for a raise? Is that a crime punishable by getting sacked?

  2. If he lays off one person that will be his last day on the job, no?

    The unions must insists on a significant increase. Antigua was know for its high salaries. No Barrett is going to turn Antigua into a Phillipines with low salaries, NO WAY.

    Just lay off one TOP DOG just one. And within 28 days there will be a FORENSIC audit of you, your family, friends, and associates. 28 days…….

    • Barrett is a wicked man, these hotel owners don’t like to see black ppl make money that’s how they show thier racism, keep you poor and enslaved because you need a job and source of income 🙄

      people have the right to demand better wages with the increase in goods and services.the

  3. Keep blaming covid for the monies lost in the SBF/FTX ponzi scheme. They gambled with monies from the public coffers and covid is & will be the scapegoat now for every failure.

    We the people forget too easily!

  4. First to be layer off would be the hundreds that are being exploited on the job program.

    The business community that is making huge profits from the job program will not be so happy with you TAP DAWG.

    All the political appointees would be next in line, no?

    Then the overseas offices.

    No body tell you to go huff none yacht and a pay 28 ja week fu um.

  5. Well said @ Melchisedec. In excess of 12 billion dollars of tax payers money collected and he still blaming covid. Is this guy not the worst, most incompetent pm and finance minister ever? And the biggest dunce as well.
    When are we going to see just how much of a curse he has been to Antigua and Barbuda and resign him to the dust bin of history? Then , we proceed to find out where our money went. And, whichever crony, family member or prostitute pocketed our money as we retrieve it ALL.

  6. Wow wow wow wow wow wow PM Brown Sir do you realize that inflation has been increased over the years so what we as a people must do you have an agreement. If you are saying that the Economy have grown by nine percent when we are not feeling it I believe that you are the one that grown not the country I am watching the Barbados Economy they are in a IMF program but they can give an increase of twenty five percent over a four year period. You know why the PM met with the Diaspora in the New York and she was able to get the Diaspora to invest over One Billion Dollars in the Economy Leadership matters

  7. Why you never talk “rough” like this in the run-up to the General Election you awful, duplicitous and unpleasant man.

    It was all SWEET WORDS and promises to the electorate; and look dey now, Gaston Browne has returned to his OBNOXIOUS and OBSTINATE self.

    But worry yourself folks, because the harder Gaston comes, the harder he’ll fall, especially when the INDEPENDENT enquiry commences into how some Africans died unnecessarily, and over 600 of them were allowed into Antigua without proper documentation and due diligence by the ABLP.

    I can see a new leader and a new beginning in the not too distant future for the country that I love 🇦🇬


  8. never enough money when it comes to worker’s wages, but always enough money when it comes to politicians wages or starting an airline or tax breaks for dodgy companies to set up shop here

  9. He boasted about record-breaking growth , still talking about Economic Powerhouse and at the same time, bawling about giving increases. All his lies and backing up on him.

  10. Just imagine the PM with this speech and workers are rejoicing .” Yes lay them off if the union push for them to get a raise “. No raise ! No raise! Be satisfied with the little you have. Some of these blind supporters are really brain washed. Next thing he will tell them he have the key to eternal life

    • Wet yah hand and wait...a rigged election got you back in power but your mouth will get you outta power soon enough Wet yah hand and wait...a rigged election got you back in power but your mouth will get you outta power soon enough

      At SMH, the supporters think that they will be immune
      Please get the PM his medication
      PM you will be soon shown how NONCORRUPTED democracy really works….tick tick tick

  11. I am sure I heard the president of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union say during his labour day speech that a lot of the civil servants were there because their ministers put them there. Now why would they do this except it is a form of vote buying. The size of the civil service is untenable. So to maintain a civil service that size, everybody is going to suffer with small wages.
    When I go down to deep water harbour, I think I am at the united nationals of the Caribbean. What about all the people on the jobs program? Now why would the government pay workers for some of the riches people in Antigua who saved almost $150 million last year? Was this a kick back scheme? Whether for political contributions or otherwise. I would suggest that the government finds other work for some of these civil servants. They would then know what working a full day means.
    I heard that a certain hotel owner is hiring Philippinos..

Comments are closed.