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Non-payment of salaries spark protest at CONTEC

Published 29 November 2022


Buckie Got It St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

SOME TWO DOZEN PLACARD-BEARING CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES (CONTEC) employees protested in front of the company demanding payment of salaries kept back from them for most of the year.

The protesting workers, among them managers and supervisors disclosed that some of them have not been paid for eight to nine months.

The disgruntled CONTEC workers labelled Manager, Lincoln Pemberton, as ‘overbearing, wicked, spiteful (and) callous,” and feel the continued withholding of the salaries was “deliberate”.

In a live video via social media seen by www.sknnewssource.com workers blocked all entrances to the company, preventing Pemberton, who is also a part-owner of the now-troubled firm, from entering the building.  

Striking workers revealed Pemberton routinely flout the country’ labour codes and callously brand workers who complained as “troublesome”. They claimed he dismissed vocal employees and replaced them with scabs some, Venezuelan migrants.

They claimed it became routine to be paid reduced amount of salaries, with a promise to pay the difference later. Later never arrived. The situation eventually boiled over and workers demanded Pemberton’s ouster unless they are paid outstanding salaries and a more effective management system instituted.

In the video, Pemberton acknowledged owing outstanding monies to his employees.

“I am aware of the issues and ye several of them (workers) are owed money as we (CONTEC) are encountering difficult challenges,” he admitted.

Pemberton promised to speak with workers individually and collectively, promising to erase the firm’s debt owed them “soon”.

. “CONTECT business shall be dealt with in the office not on the streets, and if you are interested in having this matter addressed, then please meet me in the compound where we will have this matter sorted out,” a composed Pemberton promised.

According to a source, Labour Ministry officials which included the Commissioner, Ms Shernelle James later met with the two sides and instructed Pemberton to pay all workers owed their outstanding monies, including all related benefits including their vacation pay by Friday. This also includes workers who want to cut ties with CONTEC will be paid their severance benefits

Pemberton agreed.

Workers placards, some of which read ‘PAY ME;,  ‘I want my MONEY’; ‘THIS IS UNFAIR’; ‘I AM OWED MONTHS’, and I WANT MY MONEY NOW’ bore fruit Monday.

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