Trade union accuses Antiguan PM of intimidation
The Public Service Association in Antigua has 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 of public servants to discuss salary increases.
Yesterday, a memo was issued to senior public servants informing them of the meeting after the association said it had received an unfavourable response to its proposals from the government’s negotiating team.
The trade union is reported to have submitted a proposal last December asking for a 33.3 per cent increase for some workers; that the minimum pay be moved up from EC$1,600 to EC$2,500; and for other concessions and benefits.
General Secretary Sandra Williams said while the meeting was underway the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister showed up which she said was done as an act of intimidation to workers.
She said workers who were coming to attend the meeting turned back because the prime minister was there and they became fearful.
Browne later addressed the workers saying there was no need for protest action against his administration.
General elections will be held in Antigua 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.