PM Browne challenges Massiah to take his gov’t to court

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently expressed criticism towards union tactics and highlighted the importance of maintaining a productive relationship between the unions and the government.

In a radio interview, Browne emphasized that the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), which he represents, is inherently pro-worker. However, he expressed concerns over what he described as “unreasonable demands” from some union leaders that potentially jeopardize worker benefits and the economic stability of the nation.

The Prime Minister mentioned specific union leaders, such as Chester Hughes, accusing them of creating noise and giving false impressions about their effectiveness in negotiations.

“They make a ton of noise, and people believe they’re effective,” Browne said, stressing that such actions often put workers’ jobs at risk rather than securing their rights and benefits.

In his statement, Browne recounted incidents where the unions made demands that were not in the best interest of the workers or the country, especially during critical negotiations related to the vaccine mandate and previous financial challenges faced by LIAT, the regional airline.

The Prime Minister highlighted a particular instance where he urged the union to accept a modest pay cut to save the airline from bankruptcy, a proposal met with resistance which eventually saw LIAT facing dire financial difficulties.

Browne’s criticism extended to the unions’ approach during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw significant economic downturns. He pointed out the need for unions to cooperate with the government to navigate the crisis effectively, rather than clinging to combative stances that fail to consider broader economic impacts.

The Prime Minister also challenged the unions to demonstrate their claims through legal means rather than public theatrics that mislead workers.

“I’m challenging them to go to court, stop fooling the workers,” he declared, indicating his openness to transparently addressing any disputes through the judicial system.

This call for more reasonable and cooperative union-government relations comes at a time when both parties face the immense task of steering the country towards recovery and sustainable growth post-pandemic.

Browne’s administration continues to advocate for negotiations that balance worker rights with national economic health, emphasizing that progress requires a united front rather than divisive tactics.

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua! We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.Contact us at [email protected]