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Antigua Observer Newspaper

ASC protest goes into second week

Administrative staff at the Antigua State College (ASC) will take their protest over unsuitable working conditions into a second week, despite small steps which have been taken by officials in the Ministry of Education to rectify the problems.

 Education officials visited the plant on Friday to see firsthand the issues affecting the workers. According to reports, officials in the ministry are considering moving the administrative staff to the Five Islands Campus while plans are put in place to rectify the problems being experienced at the tertiary institution.

Our news desk was also informed that a team of cleaners was contracted on Friday to do a thorough cleaning of the premises after the ASC Principal, Hyram Forde, took the decision to close the college on Friday due to the unhygienic conditions that existed as a result of ancillary staff refusing to work.  

The spokesperson for the group, Julie-Ann George Stevens, said the workers are adamant that they will continue to withhold their services until they are fully satisfied with the improvements at the Golden Grove Campus

She said they will be meeting today with their bargaining agent – the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) – to determine the next course of action.

The workers took action last Tuesday calling for urgent action to be taken to improve what they termed as “deplorable working conditions”. They complained about lack of bathroom facilities, mold, termite and rodent infestation along with leaky roof, which has affected their health, safety, and overall wellbeing.

 Last week Facilities Manager in the Ministry of Education Oral Evanson stated that the concerns of the administrative staff were genuine and steps were being taken to provide relief.

 Evanson, who visited the plant on Wednesday for an assessment, also concluded that repair work at the institution will require a major capital injection, noting that nothing much had been done at the college for over 45 years.

While the workers have indicated they will continue industrial action this week, OBSERVER media was reliably informed that classes will resume as normal this morning.

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