HOTEL WORKERS TO RECEIVE INCREASE FOR THE NEW YEARThursday 29th December 2011
After months of negotiations the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association and the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union today reached agreement on the terms and conditions relating to the last two years of the current three year Collective Agreement.
The two parties met before the Labour Commissioner in early December but his recommendations although accepted by the A.H.T.A. were rejected by the A.B.W.U. sending both parties back to the negotiating table. As the differences narrowed the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Dr. Errol Cort this morning finally brought the parties to shake hands on increases in salaries and allowances until the end of the Collective Agreement in December 2012.
The Collective Agreement covers all hotels members of the AHTA with exception of the Elite Island Resorts, Rex Resorts and Sandals properties or just over 50% of the hotel inventory on the island representing nearly 2000 workers. Although late for Christmas hotel workers will see a pay increase back dated to October 1st, 2011 and a second increase from January 1st 2012. Recognizing the challenging times facing the small hotels the increases are two tiered with a smaller increase for hotels under 20 rooms and a larger increase for those above this figure.
Workers in the small hotels will receive a $10 per week increase backdated with a further $7 from January 1st whilst those in the larger properties will receive two increase of $12 each. The agreement reached also included an increase of the meal allowance by $1 per meal, in the spread-over allowance by $2.50 per week and the introduction of a graveyard shift allowance of $25.00 per week.
After the meeting the AHTA Chairman Alistair Forrest declared, “The last two years have been very challenging to the hotel sector and increasing costs by raising salaries is always a difficult option but in a service industry such as this the hoteliers recognize the staff as their greatest asset and the importance of their welfare. The increase in the cost of living in Antigua is affecting our workers as well as our businesses and we had to take this into consideration. We are happy that these negotiations have been drawn to a close so that we can concentrate of increasing our business for 2012.”
Hon Chester Hughes commenting for the ABWU said “We are pleased that the hoteliers have moved to what we consider to be a compromise position to allow for employees to cushion the rise in the cost of living against their wages. The ABWU has also agreed to implore employees to be more productive. Employees can now go to bed resting peacefully knowing that of January 1st in some cases they can look forward to a minimum of $24 on their wages weekly as well as improved allowances. We look forward to working more closely with the AHTA in 2012 and beyond in preparation for the negotiations for the next three years of the Agreement starting in 2013.”
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