Dozens of employees at the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board (ABTB) are benefiting from the provisions of the latest Collective Agreement signed between the Company and the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU).
During a recent signing exercise, Senior Industrial Relations Officer at the ABWU, Kem Riley, explained that the statutory body and the workers were at loggerheads on several matters which culminated in strike action during the period leading up to the negotiations. Riley noted, however, that through skillful negotiation, many of the pressing issues were ultimately resolved.
Photo (L-R): Arthur Reubel, Kem Riley, Hubert Jarvis, Taisha York, Carlton Brodie
The Agreement expands on several existing benefits and includes increases to the meal and snack allowance, the shift allowance, the special skills allowance, the travel allowance and the cashier allowance.
Staff members covered under the Agreement will also receive a 7% salary increase which includes retroactive payments.
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HR Manager at the ABTB, Taisha York, expressed delight that both parties were able to come to an amicable agreement before the contract period had expired. York added that the Company places significant value on its employees and proactively invests in their development, even beyond the provisions of the Collective Agreement.
“One of the things we have been promoting in the last two years is continued education. We have sent persons on short courses at the University of the West Indies – fully paid for by the Company,” York highlighted. The HR manager added that employees received an incremental increase upon their successful completion of a course. York says the Company will seek to enshrine this educational initiative in the next Collective Agreement.
ABTB General Manager, Hubert Jarvis, said the Company enjoyed a “cordial” relationship with the Union which paved the way for fruitful negotiations. Jarvis asserted that the Company and the Union have always found common ground in empowering workers.
The Collective Agreement covers the period January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023. Negotiations for the upcoming contract period are expected to commence in short order.