Prison officer expresses disappointment with AT&LU and Minister Benjamin as protesting employee is victimized

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Victimization has commenced since prison officers took protest action on Monday, October 17, and one officer says she is disappointed with the representation being accorded by the union representing some of her colleagues.

Junior Officer Jones was one of the vocal staff members on the protest line, and she made a guest appearance on Thursday night’s Captain’s Corner programme.

Jones says the victimization began on the day the staff took action.

In spite of paying dues to the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU), the prison officer claims the bargaining agent has not stood with the aggrieved staff of His Majesty’s Prison.

Further, says Junior Officer Jones, the non-national prison officers are afraid to take a stand since they believe their livelihood will be threatened.

However, all the workers are disappointed that everyone has failed them, especially the Minister of Public Safety, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, who, they claim, has abandoned them.

If the workers’ claims of being prevented from protesting are true, then such action goes against the country’s Labour Code, notes Harold Lovell, the Political Leader of the United Progressive Party and an attorney by profession.

Officers gathered outside the Prison’s Coronation Road compound on Monday to voice their frustration over the treatment meted out to them by the authorities and their poor working conditions.

Lovell says the ultimate solution to their plight is not necessarily union action, but to “get rid” of the Gaston Browne Administration. Once this is done, then the issues at the institution would be seriously addressed and remedied, he says.

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