ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday May 12, 2015 – After ignoring the government’s plea to show up for work as usual yesterday, hundreds of bank employees are expected to stay off the job and meet with their union again this morning.
Yesterday, they met at the Newgate Street, St John’s headquarters of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), as they insisted that their concerns about the controversial Banking Act be addressed.
Their action resulted in the closure of five of the country’s commercial banks in the morning. Others opened their doors but with a skeleton staff.
The bank employees are meeting again today for another “strategy” session.
“The workers are still of the view they would like the matter of severance addressed in having it properly outlined rather than joining it with other parts of a sentence which could have a different meaning,” the union’s general secretary David Massiah is quoted as saying in the Antigua Observer newspaper.
In a statement issued after reports that there would be protest action yesterday, the Gaston Browne-led administration urged workers not to be take industrial action on any false premises.
The government accused Massiah of using the workers as pawns, saying that “the attempt to mislead bank workers into thinking that they are at risk of being unfairly targeted is a deliberate political ploy”.
President of the Bankers Association Michael Spencer told the Antigua Observer that he was hoping for a speedy resolution to the impasse.