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Workers strike at Peters Hope

Workers strike at Peters Hope


Three weeks after the groundbreaking ceremony to start construction of a new secondary school at Peters Hope, workers at the site went on strike. Citing inadequate pay as their reason, the strike action began on Tuesday and ended that same day after a settlement was reached.{{more}}

One worker told SEARCHLIGHT that work started on March 16 and it had been agreed that labourers would work for $25 a day and skilled workers for $40 a day pending evaluation. “Up to now things are the same so we call a strike”, the worker said.

Representatives of the Chinese firm China Jiang Su at the bargaining table Tuesday.

Lance Caesar, the 29-year-old carpenter of Keartons Hill, Barouallie who led the strike action told Searchlight in a telephone interview that he worked for two days last week after it was agreed that he would be paid $50 a day, but when he received his wages, he was only paid $80 for the two days. “I said to myself this can’t work, so I call the fellas and told them that we should go on strike.”

Caesar said that when he got home he called “The Comrade” (Deputy Prime Minister and parliamentary representative for the area, Sir Louis Straker), who agreed to visit the site.

On Tuesday, Caesar and a visibly angry Sir Louis sat down with representatives of China Jiang Su, the Chinese firm that won the contract to build the school. “Do you want the reputation as the worst paying employer in St Vincent and the Grenadines? Consider what that would do to your reputation,” Straker said. “I am asking for $35 a day for labourers and $75 for skilled workers,” he further stated.

After tense hours of negotiations it was agreed that labourers will be paid $35 a day while skilled workers will get $60 a day. Caesar said that he is happy about the outcome as he is building his house and has a family to look after. “You have to stand up for what you believe in”, he said.

China Jiang Su built the Layou Waterfront project. They’ve also won the contracts to build three other schools in Bequia, West St George and Edinboro.