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SKELEC workers stage protest

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Reports reaching our news desk have indicated that workers from the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) staged a protest at the Department of Maritime Affairs Ministry – Water Services Building, Needmust on the morning of November 1.

Social media images showed SKELEC workers walking along Wellington Road towards the Water Services Building.

The workers have indicated that the protest action was taken in hopes that management and the minister responsible for SKELEC, Hon Konris Maynard, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Energy and Utilities, meet a list of demands:

  • Payment of Risk Pay

  • Payment of Honorarium

  • An increase in salary is recommended according to studies and consistent with cost-of-living increases.

  • Retroactive payments which were previously promised.

  • Promotion from within the company instead of recruiting externally.

  • Opportunities for training

  • Re-assignment of SKLEC Senior Management

  • Removal of Director Mahesh Nariani from the SKELEC Board of Directors.

One SKELEC employee indicated that the core problem was not the honorarium or risk pay and was quoted as saying, “we need vision at the top”, suggesting that the management of the statutory body has no vision.

Calls for comment from Minister Maynard on the situation at SKELEC were unsuccessful at news time. Still, videos circulating on social media show that the Minister has met the striking workers, and he urged them to go through the proper channels, and he will “bat for them 150 percent.”

WINN reached out to Patrice Harris, Corporate Communications Manager of SKELEC, for comment on the situation. She indicated that the minister has convinced the workers to participate in a meeting with management scheduled for 4 pm on November 1.

“Internally, the management is aware, and they will be taking the necessary steps… we stand willing to engage to the quickest and best resolution to the issue.”

UPDATE (November 1, 1:15 pm): In a Facebook post, Minister Maynard shared, “Some SKELEC workers came to my office this morning expressing some grievances they have had over the years. I understand their frustration. However, these grievances have not before now been communicated to the new board or myself as Minister. Consequently, I have asked, and they have agreed, to give due process a chance by first formally giving the present SKELEC Management an opportunity to hear their grievances under this new dispensation and give the management a chance to respond.

As a responsible government, we will support the plight of workers 150% once good process is followed and respected.”

More on this story as information becomes available.

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