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Antigua workers protest decision to hire Trinidadian

Published:Monday | March 4, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Workers employed at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) stayed away from their jobs on Friday protesting the decision of the utility company to hire a 65 year-old Trinidadian as a manager.

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) said that the company had replaced electricity manager Lyndon Francis with the un-named Trinidadian and that at least 100 workers had decided to stay off the job.

ABWU senior industrial relations officer Chester Hughes, speaking on Observer Radio in Antigua, said the staff are opposed to the company hiring the Trinidadian, who has past the age of retirement.

APUA board has employed the services of a Trinidadian national ... who is 65 years old which is discriminating against my membership who would have had much more equity in the company. It is not a situation where the person had worked with the company and at age 65 is asking to continue, he said, accusing the company of knowing fully well that this individual is 65 years old, Hughes said.

Further, this gentleman has never been introduced to the union as the new manager for the department, nor to the line staff or membership. It is only this morning the company sought to introduce him to the line staff when they realise what was happening, he added.

We are saying that our membership is very disgruntled by the fact that they ... were just given letters, notice that they will be 60 years old and they will be given a package and sent home, while this gentleman is being employed, said Hughes.

The APUA, which is responsible for telecommunications, water and electricity services, has so far not yet made any comment on the allegations.