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Indian workers double wages at construction firm in Anguilla, 2007
Several hundred Indian workers of the British construction firm, Carillion, started demonstrations in Anguilla on June 26 and 27, 2007. They demanded better wages and working conditions because they could not live on $180 a month and they were concerned about the quality of the food, water, and medical attention that the company gave them. Later that week, many Anguillans came out to demonstrations to express their support.
By the first week of July, the Indian workers returned to work. On the next day government officials, representatives of the workers, and their employer, Carillion Construction, met to discuss a solution to the workers’ concerns. After this meeting, the government assented to monitor the progress of the agreements between the workers and Carillion Construction.
On Monday, July 2, The Chief Minister, Osbourne Fleming, claimed that the legal representatives of the workers informed the government that their discussions with the employer were at a standstill. The workers’ lawyers claimed that Carillion was not going to accept or discuss their proposal for increased wages and benefits.
The next day, July 3, the Indian workers began marching again. The police stopped them at West End because they did not have permission to march. However, the police later permitted them to march single file because of work done by the workers’ lawyer, Josephine Gumbs-Connor. The workers engaged in sit-ins and stand-ins outside of the General Post Office. They refused to eat until the company met their demands. Large groups of Anguillan citizens stood nearby pledging their support and any possible assistance to the foreign workers. With a much larger crowd than before, protesters marched to the grounds of the Secretariat where a meeting was in progress about a solution to the workers’ grievances.
Once the meeting was adjourned, Joyce Kentish-Egan, one of the three private legal representatives for the Indian workers, made a statement about the present situation. She announced that Carillion, supported by the government, agreed to meet the workers’ requests that wages be raised by 100%. This pay increase was not retroactive and took effect from July 1. The majority of the Indian workers was satisfied with this offer and ended their demonstrations.