Scores of workers who are owed money from the government are picketing outside of Parliament on Budget Day today.
Chester Hughes of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union spoke to Observer Radio:
EARLIER RELEASE FROM UNION
Former employees of the Jolly Beach Resort will picket the parliament building of Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday 03 February, ahead of the Prime Minister’s budget presentation.
The decision was taken on Monday, at a meeting held with the former employees to discuss their outstanding severance following the hotel’s closure in March 2020.
Deputy General Secretary of the ABWU, Chester Hughes says the frustrated workers have insisted on intensifying efforts to secure their outstanding severance.
“The situation has become untenable for many of them and we will not go on without stating our disgust. We want the government to give a commitment that it will honor the full severance amount to the workers,” Hughes stated.
The Jolly Beach workers are owed millions of dollars in severance, retroactive payments, vacation pay, unpaid wages and retirement fund contributions which were deducted from salaries and withheld from the bank.
In 2021, and again in January of this year, the government articulated its interest in reactivating the property by securing private investors. In a correspondence to the Prime Minister earlier this year, the ABWU Deputy General Secretary urged the government to facilitate dialogue with the union pending the sale of the property.
Hughes notes that the union’s call for dialogue continues to be ignored by the Prime Minister. Moreover, to date, the government has failed to indicate to the workers when and how their severance will be paid if a sale is completed.
Over 500 families have been affected by the closure of the Jolly Beach Resort.
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