Union accuses government of intimidating public sector workers

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The Public Service Association (PSA) Friday accused the outgoing Antigua and Barbuda government of seeking to intimidate its members after Prime Minister Gaston Browne accompanied by the Social Transformation Minister, Samantha Marshall, turned up a meeting here of public servants to discuss salary increases.

On Thursday, a memo was issued to senior public servants informing them of the meeting after the PSA said it had received an unfavourable response from the government’s negotiating team to its proposals.

The PSA is reported to have submitted a proposal in December, asking for a 33.3 per cent increase for some workers; that the minimum pay is moved up from EC$1,600-plus to EC$2,500 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents); and for other concessions/benefits.

PSA general secretary Sandra Williams said the PSA had convened the meeting with its membership on “the negotiations issue and the back pay arrangements that the government refuses to take on.

“So we are at the Botanical Gardens and the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Gaston Browne and Samantha Marshall showed up at our private meeting to intimidate workers in the public sector”.

She said workers who were coming to attend the meeting “turned back because the prime minister is there and they seem intimidated”.

Browne later addressed the workers saying there was no need for protest action against his administration.

“I am giving you a commitment that on an ongoing basis we make adjustments to ensure that we close the gap and that we ultimately increase our income,” he said.

He said one of the reasons why his government had made the five per cent offer across the public service “was to address the issue of inflation during our tenure.

“Within the three and a half years inflation would have been less than five per cent and you can check the IMF (International Monetary Fund) figures,” he added.

But the PSA has in the past described the five per cent wage offer as an “insult” saying it will make no impact on lives of its members.

General elections will be held here on March 21, and a member of the Brown administration has accused the union of engaging in politics as a result of the wage negotiations.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston, Thursday night told supporters of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (APLP) that the PSA was campaigning on behalf of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).

“Tell the civil service union, raise their hand if they want a showdown,” he added.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Once again, Gaston is displaying his dictatorial tendencies, and threatening and intimidating public servants. Neither Gaston or Samantha are members of the Public Service Association, so they had no right, no authority, to turn up uninvited and take over the meeting.

    And, as was to be expected, the Police are mum on this matter. Can you imagine how the police high command would have responded if the UPP or DNA pilled a similar stunt?

    My people, little by little, Gaston is taking away your freedom and liberties. you need to stop him before he goes any further. Arm yourself with your voting weapon and defeat the red devil dictator at the polls on March 21st. Time for Gaston and the ABLP to go. Enough is enough.

  2. How SAD, the PM is out of CONTROL, he needs help,LEADERSHIP IS NOT A POSITION, IT’S AN ACTION FOR WHICH YOU ARE LACKING, , BOTH YOU & SM ARE ACTING LIKE DEPRAVED CHILDREN, COUPLE DAY’S BEFORE AN ELECTION? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE YEARS PRIOR TO THAT? FOR SOMEONE WHO HAVE A SON, WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING HIM? GOD HELP US, PROUD OF THE PSA TO STAND UP & EXPOSED THE BULLY & HIS CRONIES FOIR WHAT THEY ARE SCUM OF THE EARTH, PM PLEASE SHOW US YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE & UNIVERSITY YOU GRADUATED FROM, BUT AGAIN COMMON SENSE ISN’T SO COMMON

    • The PSA who failed to do anything for its members under UPP administration now claims to have teeth once again. Give me a break.

  3. That woman Sandra Williams is just political -She need to go tek the subben off she head,it looks like a dam Bird Nest.

  4. It is my dunce opinion that all the money being spent on billboards, posters lining both sides of every highway and lamp post in every village (poor Cooks after all this), tv and radio ads, streamers up market street, plastic around the lamp posts, lewd and ridiculous free concerts, irritating loudspeakers first thing in the morning, paraphanilia that’s thrusted on people whether they want it or not, unnecessary transportation and food costs to have Barbudans over here to vote etc…etc…etc… could have put some sort of dent in the amount owed to public servants. But then again the politicians’ whole agenda is to pit us against each other like dunces so that we will cuss and fight among ourselves, while they they go about having their way unchecked. And wha dah yah know?! Some of us are really behaving like dunces!!!

    • You are really dun see bhat- Money used for campaigning does not belong to this or any government but to the various parties.. Should the party use their money and pay civil servants? What nonsense.. Strange that party Paraphernalia is now a major issue,last election the UPP had bags and Shoes endless..The Shoe turned around and walked them out of power.What;s the problem this time around? Cant get money to buy plastic bags and shoes now? Really Flap i guess..

    • U UPP supports are the best. The things ABLP are doing now is no different from their campaign style. Concerts billboards thirts hats bags posters etc have always been there even when they were in opposion. Just cause you were caught with you pants down with this snap elections you have an issues with everything. 2014 there was all kinds of giveaways from you from shoes lunch kits mugs with the canadates face on them bags free concerts billboards etc stop y’all bellaching cause that is not going to change the inevitable which is the UPP losing miserlibly…

  5. Am I the only person who noticed that in the second sentence of the story it said the “outgoing” Antigua and Barbuda government.
    How does the writer know that they are outgoing. Do u know something more than the rest of us. Showing a little bias there I guess. LoL
    They can only be outgoing once the voters have voted.

  6. Yes, new resorts at the expense of the people of Barbuda. Billboards that could pay the workers. They will be paying thousands upon thousand to get the Barbudan’s over to vote on transportation, hotel and food. Would be fiscally responsible by having a voting station on Barbuda. His reputation in the outside world is not good, sort of like Donald Trump. Sorry for you all. Really not a Democracy if the ‘dictator’ intimidates it’s people.

    • The same Barbudans when ask to go clean up their island refuse to move out of the shelters? The same Barbudans who were fighting with the staff at the stadium cause they refuse to move? The same Barbudans who not going back as a result Antiguan contractors now have to go over to renconstruct?
      And FYI it is not the governamnts money being used for campaning it is the party’s money. If the opposion broke or nobody want sponsor them.to damn bad. Of y’all love your Barbuda so much why 3/4 of them still here?

  7. I am really sorry for the worker’s you consistently followed party hackers. How long are these money owed? Please don’t tell me it started 4years ago…. caused these political trickery needs to stop. When you dance to your party, these things can will continue to happen…(Sandra)… you were played by the UPPITES, which you were part off and now you are crying foul….

  8. Ghetto attitude. Intimidating tactics for real? So the Antiguans I know would have cuss him skunk to hell. Well a so this fella tun bad all of a sudden. Wait a de millions get you so thuggish. Will these intimidated folks show this hoodlum where people like him belong? If you fraud when a leader comes around it’s quite telling. Wait Mr. Fixer/Visionary/Can do is now resorting to confrontational behavior? Smh!

  9. Ironhead… Do you remember which political leader says to his supporters, when they(Tex collectors) come to your house sharpened your cutlass back to front and chopped them up? This Union and its leadership have failed the membership for over ten years… This lady is well known clone of the PLM and UPPITES.. She was just playing politics…

  10. Oh please lady you looking milage for the UPP on the eve of elections. Where the hell were you from 2004-2014 when workers were being victimze because they were suspected ALP supporters. Where were you to stand up for the 90 worker from the port who were dismissed and the the other worker who lost their jobs under the UPP rule. No matter what you do or say the UPP going down Wednesday once and for all

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