Prime Minister Gaston Browne is accusing some hotels of widespread exploitation of workers.
He told the Lower House today that at EC $1400 some hoteliers still think that their employees are making too much money.
“That’s how much workers at solid waste and CBH makes. And today in the 21st-century, hotels that are making millions of dollars are arguing that their employees who are making $1300-$1400 a month are over paid.”
The Prime Minister said some of the hotels were trying to reduce the living standards in Antigua by comparing to wages earned in Jamaica and Dominican Republic.
Browne says while he is prime minister, workers will not be “utilised as commodities for exploitation to maximize the profits of hoteliers.”
He also told Parliament that exploitation was a reason why indigenous Antiguans no longer wanted to work in the hotel sector.
“There are no pensions, some of them work for 30 and 40 years and they have to go home with no pension,” the prime minister stressed.
He said he would rather “go home” than to preside over that type of inequity.
Browne said Sandals Antigua is one of the main offenders when it comes to exploitative practices adding that its pending closure has opened up a number of issues “for us to discuss as a government.”
Browne said he was shocked to learn recently how indigenous Antiguans are being maginalised at the luxury resort.
According to the prime minister, the senior managers of Sandals comprise of all expatriates.
He said of the 33 middle managers only two are Antiguans and Barbudans.
Out of 50 supervisors, Browne revealed that only 15 are citizens of the twin-island state.
“The hotels who should be helping to create space for our graduates are filling those positions with expatriates,” he stressed.
Browne was speaking during an amendment to the Investment Act which will set out penalties for hotels who close without adequate notice and consultations.