The Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) has launched a petition against the contentious Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 claiming that it could possibly victimize workers.
In a meeting held at the AT&LU Headquarters on Monday, 10 statutory bodies represented by the Union gathered to discuss their stance on the bill in light of its minor amendments made during the last sitting of the Lower House.
Hugh Joseph, General Secretary of the AT&LU told ZDK News this morning that following the resounding opposition by the members, and word from the President of the AT&LU Senator Wrigley George that he would again vote against the bill, a decision was made to petition to controversial bill.
“They all agreed with the position taken by the Unions leadership in that the proposed bill has the potential to affect them adversely and as such they put their support behind Mr. George to the point that a petition was signed by persons present yesterday and a letter to be sent to the Prime Minister,” he said.
The bill was withdrawn from the Senate in August after it did not have the full support of the government senators who openly condemned the bill stating that it makes way for political victimization.
Minor amendments were made to the offending sector of the Bill but according to Joseph, it is deceptive and the union is still worried that it could be used to victimize workers.
“I have not seen the changes…they were read to me but from what I understand it is sort of deceptive and it doesn’t capture or any way satisfy the concern of the Union leadership because prior to yesterday it was said that the Union is taking on a role that doesn’t really concern them and it is being said that our membership is not really being affected, so that is why we called the meeting because we felt it necessary to really educate the membership to the fact that it really stands to affect them and that it speaks to administrative, professional and technical persons and these are persons who fall under the control of the Union,” Joseph noted.
Joseph said that a letter and the petition is currently being circulated throughout the workforce before it is officially sent to the Prime Minister. The anticipated Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 is being debated in the Senate today.