25th May 2016
The Ministry of Works and Housing is awaiting the official communication from the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) to determine a way forward in resolving the concerns of the workers at the Bendals and Burma Quarries.
Against the financial limitations, the Ministry has been working to ensure that both quarries will be in a position to produce and supply aggregates to further strengthen the national road program.
Before the end of 2016, the Ministry intends to spend a total of Eastern Caribbean $84.84 Million on the rehabilitation/construction of several major roads island wide.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Hon. Eustace Lake, stated:-
"I am very concerned with the matter but, I am also of the view that the union is seeking to mislead the workers so as to suggest that their concerns are not being addressed with great urgency. The explosives arrived on island approximately two weeks ago and blasting will take place at the Burma Quarry during the course of this week.
Two new crushers have been ordered. The Burma Quarry will be producing subbase and base materials while the Bendals Quarry will be producing crushed stones for the road finished surface.
With the purchase of the two new crushers, I am confident that both quarries will be in a position to supply the materials needed for the ongoing and future road work."
The Works Minister also said: "I am equally concerned with the matter of Incentive and Risk Allowance for some members of staff. This agreement must be reviewed through the collective bargaining process and as such my Ministry is still awaiting a plan of action from the union representing the workers.
Director Lucine Hanley, indicated that he is very much surprised at the workers' action since the Supervisor of the Bendals Quarry is fully aware of the Ministry's plans. In fact, the said supervisor was part of several meetings, one as early as last week Tuesday with the representative from PARKER, the manufacturer of the new crushers that were ordered.
It should be also noted that the said Supervisor has had several meetings with the Director on matters pertaining to the Ministry's plans for the said quarry and at no time he raised any objections to those plans.
"At no time was the supervisor of the quarry left out of the discussions regarding the purchase of the crushers and the lack of explosives (at the time) on island" the Director concluded.
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