No end yet to quarry strike

ST JOHN’S –– Industrial action at the Bendals Quarry rolled into day six today, with the workers adamant they will not return to drilling and crushing the aggregate required for the government road programme until their concerns are addressed.

The sit-in began last Tuesday, with the workers demanding payment for overtime outstanding for three months, protective gear, safe drinking water, and for the authorities in the Ministry of Public Works to revisit the appointment of two supervisors.

Earlier reports on the protest quoted the representative from Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU), Ralph Potter, who said the workers were agitating for the appointments of a drill supervisor and a senior supervisor to be rescinded. Employees have since told the Observer they are seeking to have the two positions confirmed, not retracted.

No date has been set for a meeting between the ministry and the union to work on a resolution even as Acting Director of Public Works Wesley James noted that the industrial action was hampering roadworks.

Walter Smith, the drill operator, and Jason Matthew,

The Bendals Quarry is quiet as industrial action moves into day six.

Homicide officers at the scene at Petrotrin Field Road, where the body of state witness Ricaldo Sanchez was found.

the senior supervisor, who were appointed to act on November 18, 2013, spoke to Observer, saying there were several troubling nuances.

These include, the men said, slowness on the part of the ministry to properly fill vacant posts.

“There seems to be some kind of problem and nobody is pushing forward for it to happen,” Smith said.

Matthew said he applied for the position of inspector of works two years ago after a colleague retired. His contention is that he was assigned the responsibilities in June 2013, but not the title.

Focusing on the ongoing protest, spokesperson for the workers, Keithroy Merchant, confirmed that the men had been reporting to work as usual, but had refused to operate any equipment until the issues were sorted out. (Antigua Observer)

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