Government Allay Fears of SJDC Employees
Wednesday 27th February, 2019-St. John’s Development Corporation employees have been assured there will be no displacement when Global Ports PLC take over management of parts of the cruise facilities.
The position was re-emphasized by Minister Charles Fernandez and Permanent Secretary Walter Christopher met with bargaining agents and shop stewards, as well as select members of the board and staff of the St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) on Tuesday.
According to the President of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union Mr. Wigley George, there is a need for clarity regarding the Global Ports agreement and the tentative transition process as well as job security among the workers.
The Tourism Minister during the meeting said his government was fully cognizant of the fact that the issue of job security would be of major concern to the 200 plus workers employed at the corporation. However, the primary interest while negotiating the GPH deal has always been that of the workers and stakeholders.
“It was not feasible to include Unions or the management of the SJDC in the early stages of the negotiations as the process was dynamic, with parameters changing constantly”, stated Minister Fernandez.
The tourism minister assured the Union Reps as well as SJDC staff and board members that Tuesday’s discussion was not final and that issues that may arise will be discussed in future meetings.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne during a press conference on Global Ports earlier this month detailed that current employees will not be affected by the agreement signed with the company.
There is a 120 day transition period prior to the full hand-over of the St. John’s cruise facility that will not include Heritage Hotel, Newport Holdings, Downtown Development and the Vendors Mall. A steering committee will be in place to oversee the deliverables during the time frame.