River Antoine Industrial Dispute - 14th March 1980
Minutes of a meeting held on 14th March, 1980.
Present were Mr. Leo De Gale, Mr. Percy Campbell (River Antoine), Mr. Evan Bhola and Mr. Kenneth Budhlall (People's Collective Farm), Brother Caldwell Taylor and Brother Lyden Ramdhanny (P.R.G.)
The meeting opened with general discussion about the apparent duplication of the workers bargaining body. Mr. Budhlall and Mr. Bhola were claiming that the workers had requested them to bargain for them. It was further indicated by them that although the agriculture & General Workers Union no longer enjoyed the support from workers, they were prepared to act as spokesmen and channel their request through the Union.
Messrs. Budhlall and Bhola outlined the reasons for the seizure of the estate. One of the main reasons given was the fact that many employees who served the employers for over 15 and 20 years were still subject to very deplorable working conditions.
After some discussion, Messrs. Kenneth Budhlall and Evan Bhola agreed to hand back the estate to the workers providing the following demands were met:
(1) All pensioners who currently receive $6.00 per fortnight should now receive $20.00 per fortnight.
(2) The attitude of Management to Workers in directing the duties of the worker should be immediately corrected as the present attitude was dictatorial, harsh and primitive.
(3) All employees must receive $100.00 per year as a means of profit sharing, retroactive from the date of their employment.
(4) One worker whose name cannot be recalled [Lazarus Moore], but who have served the Estate for a considerable time, must receive prior to retirement, a reasonably constructed house or the equivalent in cash. In addition, the sum of $315.00 which represents 50% of the impounding which was charged to a villager for destruction to a cane field by his animal. The worker was responsible for the impounding of the animal.
(5) Six workers who get damaged on the Estate are to receive full compensation.
(6) Truckmen who work overtime are to receive payment for overtime duties performed.
(7) Skilled workers i.e. Rum Factory Workers are to receive a Premium above the normal daily wage received.
(8) All injured workers are to be transported to the hospital or paid for the said transportation.
(9) All workers are to receive in addition to the present allocation of beef and rum, a reasonable sum as a bonus payment at the end of the year.
(10) All rejected bananas are to be given to the workers.
(11) The two workers who were employed by the People's Collective Farm from 13th February, 1980 are to be paid by Management from that day.
(12) Mr. Pat Bhola, the Overseer who has been employed for over 22 years must have his house repaired and relocated with pipe borne water being available. His present salary of $275.00 is to be increased.