Workers at gov’t housing project protest low wages, again

This was the second time in months that construction workers at the government’s 2,000 affordable homes project have staged a protest because of low wages.

The men, who stayed off the job for a brief period, yesterday, were also concerned about reports that management of the National Housing Development and Urban Renewal Company was presumably extending the probation period for some employees.

President of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU) Wigley George responded to the call from the aggrieved employees who are not represented by a union.

On the issue of the extended probationary period, the union official said the more than 70 workers were misinformed about the process.

He explained that several of them would have already passed the probation period while others had agreed to an extension.

“There are some men whom their foremen would have assessed only to find out they are not suitable for the position they have applied for. This was discussed with them individually and the management would have agreed to give them a chance of an extra month which the workers signed on to,” George said.

The AT&LU president said he would also attempt to address the matter of low wages with the housing company; however, he would first have to initiate the process of having the workers unionised.

Employees at the same housing project took similar action in March, this year, claiming low wages and short pay.

At that time, Project Director Abena St Luce told OBSERVER media that the employees should not expect premium pay given the nature of the housing project.

“It is a low-income project and we cannot really pay what the average person gets on one of the larger, private construction projects. Some of them are coming from the bigger construction companies and they would like to have similar pay, but we cannot do that. The point of this project is to give people who are not working a job as well as provide homes for low-income families,” St Luce stressed.








 

Workers at gov’t housing project protest low wages, again

This was the second time in months that construction workers at the government’s 2,000 affordable homes project have staged a protest because of low wages.

The men, who stayed off the job for a brief period, yesterday, were also concerned about reports that management of the National Housing Development and Urban Renewal Company was presumably extending the probation period for some employees.

President of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU) Wigley George responded to the call from the aggrieved employees who are not represented by a union.

On the issue of the extended probationary period, the union official said the more than 70 workers were misinformed about the process.

He explained that several of them would have already passed the probation period while others had agreed to an extension.

“There are some men whom their foremen would have assessed only to find out they are not suitable for the position they have applied for. This was discussed with them individually and the management would have agreed to give them a chance of an extra month which the workers signed on to,” George said.

The AT&LU president said he would also attempt to address the matter of low wages with the housing company; however, he would first have to initiate the process of having the workers unionised.

Employees at the same housing project took similar action in March, this year, claiming low wages and short pay.

At that time, Project Director Abena St Luce told OBSERVER media that the employees should not expect premium pay given the nature of the housing project.

“It is a low-income project and we cannot really pay what the average person gets on one of the larger, private construction projects. Some of them are coming from the bigger construction companies and they would like to have similar pay, but we cannot do that. The point of this project is to give people who are not working a job as well as provide homes for low-income families,” St Luce stressed.








 

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