Team Unity Government working with employers to improve workers’ conditions
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 11, 2020 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Workers on the Industrial Estate were on Monday February 10 praised for helping keep the peace in the country and were advised that government is negotiating with their employers for them to receive better wages and bonuses, and health coverage that would also include their family members.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Sustainable Development, National Security, People Empowerment, and Constituency Empowerment, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, made the much welcome announcements when he led his Cabinet colleagues on site visits to some of the nation’s leading manufacturers on the Paul Southwell, Bird Rock, and Canada industrial estates, as Team Unity Government observes its fifth anniversary.
“We have a discussion going on with the employers about increasing your wages, and we hope that when the report comes from the Minimum Wage Committee, you will be able to get higher wages and better support in terms of bonuses,” said Prime Minister Harris in a message that was repeated at all the stops on the visit.
“In our conversations we are saying to the employers; it is not just about wages – it is also about insurance going forward, not just for the workers but their families, their children, their mother, their father who is dependent upon them. So the Team Unity Government has a programme that we will roll out as we move forward so that better benefits can come to you. I say to you – you have a friend and many friends in government,” added Dr Harris.
The first company visited was Sun Island Clothes Ltd on New Town Bay Road, where Prime Minister Harris and Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Shawn Richards, Senior Minister and Minister of Labour the Hon Vance Amory, Cabinet Ministers the Hon Ian Patches Liburd, the Hon Eugene Hamilton, and the Hon Lindsay Grant were introduced to the workers by Managing Director Mr Mahesh Nariani.
Accompanying members of the Team Unity Cabinet as they made the visits was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Mr Ron Dublin-Collins. After Sun Islands Clothes, the Cabinet visited Electrofab (St. Kitts) Ltd, Kajola-Kristada Ltd, and Jaro Electronics before they broke for lunch. They were in the course of the visits joined by Minister of State for Health Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps, and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Mark Brantley.
At Electrofab (St. Kitts), members of Cabinet were welcomed by owner Mrs Felicia Mallalieu, and General Manager Mr Trevor Greaux. At Kajola-Kristada Ltd the company’s Human Resource Manager Mrs Malvie James, and Plant Engineer Mrs Eulice Rogers, introduced them to the workers, while Corporate Operations Manager Ms Cathy Podniesterzanski, and Human Resource Director Mr Leroy Richards showed them around the factory floor at Jaro Electronics.
While at Kajola-Kristada, Prime Minister was greeted with shouts of ‘Amen’, ‘Unity for life’ and ‘Harris again’ when he said to the workers: “We want your employers to pay you more… When the Team Unity Government gives a double, you can be assured that your factory will be paying a double.”
The workers at all the manufacturing sites visited were praised by Prime Minister Harris for being among the most disciplined of workers anywhere in the country, who came early to work to meet production targets, and who also showed a willingness to change when changes are necessary for the operation of the factory.
“In government we are not as strict as we should be, because if you have to get up early to come to work, and work so hard to get your day pay, everywhere in every department of government, they should be at work, working as hard as you,” observed Dr Harris, who told the workers that he had a stint working at one of the factories early in his working career.
“So we are going to introduce an incentive system in our new term,” pointed out the Honourable Prime Minister. “Those who work well, those who are courteous to you when you go whether to the police or the passport office or the health centre – they will get an extra add-on on their pay for superlative service.”
In the afternoon the Team Unity Cabinet visited Montserrat Antilles Plastic Ltd in Bird Rock, where they were met and taken around by the General Manager Mr Michael Edgecombe, and CONTEC Limited in Canada Industrial Estate, where they were welcomed by CEO and Managing Director Mr Lincoln Pemberton, and other members of his senior management team.