The tenacious spirit of employees at Frank B. Armstrong won them a monumental victory that has culminated in the recent signing of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Union representing the workers – the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union – and the employer.
Frank B employees had been without a signed Collective Agreement for several years due to exceptionally challenging negotiations. However, in 2023, a newly assigned Union Officer – Hugh Joseph – restarted the negotiations with overwhelming support from the workers who were determined to secure an Agreement before the year’s end.
This solemn commitment by the workers eventually escalated into several hours of industrial action in May 2023, after which the employer sought the intervention of the Antigua and Barbuda Employers’ Federation (ABEF).
Today, in addition to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the workers have also secured a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering outstanding bonuses for the period 2020, 2021 and 2022, which was the most contentious item during the negotiations.
Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Hugh Joseph described the workers’ experience as a “prolonged and difficult battle.” He noted, however, that it was the workers’ remarkable display of solidarity that brought the parties together at the negotiating table.
Joseph commended shop stewards Calvin Car and Josette Phillip for the critical role they played during the negotiations. He also lauded the ABEF’s Executive Secretary, Ms. J. Arlene Martin, for the guidance she provided.
Martin expressed appreciation to the Union for maintaining cordial meetings. She encourages employees to continue to build on the relationship of trust that has been established.
The New Collective Bargaining Agreement will run for the period September 2023 to August 2026.
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