Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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HomeREGIONALUNION REPRESENTING FORMER LIAT WORKERS IN ANTIGUA NOT BACKING DOWN

UNION REPRESENTING FORMER LIAT WORKERS IN ANTIGUA NOT BACKING DOWN

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It will take more than an EC$2-million-dollar compassionate offer and threats by Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister to get the union representing LIAT’s ex-workers to back down from their fight for severance and other payments owed to them. 

On Thursday, the General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union David Massiah sent, perhaps one of the strongest messages yet to Browne, telling him plain and simple, that he cannot continue to “rape the workers’ rights”. 

The government said in its weekly Cabinet communique that many of the former workers have chosen to opt to benefit from an EC $2 million-dollar compassionate offer but Massiah said it was a small fraction of the Antiguan workers, about 60 among over 250. 

“It doesn’t make sense. One of the letters that basically came had a situation where an employee was basically told he is entitled to just about 10 thousand dollars with the 50 per cent of whatever it is he is going to get which is roughly about five thousand dollars but then, his 30 per cent is going to boil down to just about 13 or 12 thousand dollars,” Massiah explained. 

Furthermore, he said of that that 30 per cent, “they were prepared to give that employee less than $600 in the give out in Christmas and there was no understanding of when he would get the others. It is highway robbery! Coming from a government that is a labour government, it is unheard of. It is raping the people of their right to entitlement under the laws of Antigua and Barbuda,” Massiah said.  

Meanwhile, a protest action carded for today by LIAT staff has been postponed. 

President of the Leeward Island Airline Pilot Association Patterson Thompson said “we have had to postpone our action due to some logistical issues, the C of P in Antigua requesting that we change the dates due to his manpower and COVID issues. So, we thought it best to reschedule when we get all LIAT employees across the network fully briefed and prepared for action,” Patterson said 

The regional carrier’s former incarnation LIAT 1974 is owned by governments of Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines since July 2020. It has been operating a limited schedule since November 2020. 

Hundreds of former LIAT employees are owed about EC$80 million (US$30 million) in severance payments but court-appointed administrator Cleveland Seaforth had given early indication that they will not get it anytime in the near future. 

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