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Anna Regina Town Council workers strike; market initially closed

The main building of the Anna Regina Market shut tight after striking municipal workers refused to open the gates.

Municipal workers in Anna Regina on Monday downed tools and refused to open the town’s market to protest the non-payment of salaries for December and other outstanding emoluments.

The market was initially closed, but instructions were later given by top functionaries of the Regionh Three administration and the Interim Management Committee to open the facility to allow vendors to sell.

Town Clerk, Dianne Critchlow said that she was awaiting a response from the Local Government Ministry to a request for assistance to pay an estimated GUY$2 million owed to the 32 workers including officers and sanitation personnel.

She said the workers are demanding payment of their December salaries, leave passage for 2014 and retroactive payments dating back to 2012.

Critchlow said she wrote Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker last Friday, seeking central government’s assistance to relieve the workers of their plight but there has been “no concrete” response.

While the municipality is required to raise revenue from rates and taxes and market fees,  the Town Clerk said ratepayers are very delinquent. She said efforts have been made in the past to sue them for non-payment but the slothful legal system was very unhelpful.

Critchlow said the Anna Regina Municipality has recommended that it be provided its own code to facilitate speedier legal action against ratepayers.

The industrial action at Anna Regina comes less than one week after Municipal Officers in the capital city, Georgetown, went on strike for the payment of a 5 percent increase in salaries. That hike was subsequently approved by the Council.