ABS staff continues protest

Senior Industrial Relations Officer of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU) Ralph Potter said the workers, who picketed outside their Cross Street office, yesterday, will continue their action against their bosses.

The picket, in which about a dozen of the 60-plus workers participated, was sparked by Kentish’s transfer from the post of sports reporter at ABS to public relations officer at the Ministry of Health.

He received an official letter on Monday afternoon, instructing him to take up the new post on Tuesday morning.

“We will continue to picket (today) and we hope that good sense will prevail. We have asked for a meeting and we hope that meeting will take place very shortly. In the meantime, we have asked Mr Kentish to continue to report to his job because as far as we are concerned he does not have a job at the Ministry of Health. He never applied for or agreed to any position within the Ministry of Health. He has a job at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as a sports editor.”

Potter said Kentish has been adhering to the advice of the union, and he subsequently received a second letter indicating that he must take up his duties at the new ministry. He was further notified that the minister would ensure he’s removed from the ABS compound bysecurity officers if he continues to show up for work there.

The industrial relations officer said the action is “clearly spiteful” against the worker who has been in the ABS Sports department for the past 10 years, and who, in May this year, led a petition by his colleagues who have concerns about the management style of the general manager, Erna Mae-Brathwaite.

“You have to understand that Mr Kentish is also the shop steward at that workplace and when you look at the history of what has happened very recently, it is clear that this action is related to all the other things which happened. It is clear the action is high-handed and done out of spite and malice,” Potter said.

He said this most recent fight by the workers, also relates to Kentish’s suspension in May by Broadcast Minister Melford Nicholas who said Kentish was disrespectful for referring to him as “that man” and “Melford”.

Potter said the AT&LU is of the view that the minister was wrong to take action against Kentish since there was no investigation, and further, Nicholas was the alleged victim who went on to be the “judge and executioner.”

He contended that removing Kentish from the ministry does not address any of the issues the union has raised both orally and in writing, on several occasions.



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