REAL NEWS: Employees at the Port Authority took industrial action at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, seeking an audience with Attorney-General Sir Steadroy Benjamin on Monday morning, November 13.
The contract of the Port employees, who are represented by the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU), expired in July 2019.
Since then, the Union reportedly has been relentless in attempts to secure a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
However, it alleges that, on every occasion, it has been told that Port Manager Darwin Telemaque is overseas.
The workers have alleged that whereas the Port’s management has refused to sign the new CBA, citing a lack of finances, the general manager, at his discretion, has hired approximately 60 persons since January 1, 2023.
Further, the aggrieved employees claim that the general manager
has employed three bodyguards and leased a motor vehicle for their
use, and that the said vehicle receives petrol from the pumps at the
They also claim that only the employees represented by the AT&LU – who are administration; mechanics maintenance; stores; crane operators and tow operators; and the Marine Department – are adversely impacted by the lack of a signed CBA.
The other employees represented by the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union are fully covered by a binding CBA, they say.
Of particular concern is the alleged recent practice of outsourcing services of the Port Authority – such as sanitation, towing, and trucking services – that employees are being paid to provide.
The workers are irked by the reported hiring of a “marketing manager” – said to be the daughter of a Labour Party spokesman – when the Port Authority is a monopoly.
In the meantime, they complain, they cannot receive promotions, upgrades, or increases.