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Protesting workers storm UWI buildings
Disgruntled general workers of the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus yesterday continued their protest action for a second day, ratcheting up their demonstration by storming several campus buildings and disrupting classes. The are clamouring for a higher than five per cent salary increase. The workers began assembling on the campus from 10 am yesterday and invaded several buildings, such as the main library and admissions office, around 11 pm to 1 pm.
The large group of singing and chanting workers occupied the four floors of the library and then the admissions office. As they boarded more buildings they exhorted their few colleagues who were working to join them in their boisterous demonstration. They regrouped around 2 pm and by that time there were few staff members on duty and the protest action wound down.
When the T&T Guardian contacted the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), which represents the workers, its vice president Teddy Stapleton said: “We are doing negotiations on behalf of the adminstration, technical and daily paid staff for the period 2008 to 2010 and the agreement has expired. “We are at the moment before the Industrial Court.
“UWI is offering five per cent which was offered at the bi-lateral level at the Ministry of Labour and they persisted with this figure. “At the Industrial Court, UWI indicated to the court that it wanted two weeks to talk with the CPO.” Stapleton said the two weeks have since expired and the university had not given the union its final decision. “All they're telling us is that they sent the proposal to the Minister of Finance,” he said.
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