LIAT strike ends, issues remain unresolved

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday June 30, 2011 – LIAT workers are back on the job today while the issues that led to their strike action the past two days are addressed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Labour Commissioner Hesketh Williams.

The industrial dispute was referred to Williams after the airline management and the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) failed to reach agreement on salary increases.

The union is seeking a three percent annual increase for its members, but LIAT is reportedly not budging from its two percent offer. The workers had initially insisted on three years.

ABWU General Secretary David Massiah said representatives from both sides are expected to meet again tomorrow.

More than 100 ground staff represented by the ABWU walked off the job on Tuesday, accusing the airline of dragging its feet on a collective bargaining agreement, which expires today, and demanding the pay increase.

The Antigua-based airline says that apart from not being able to afford what the union is asking for, it is having problems paying staff.

In a memo issued Tuesday, the airline said it was experiencing “severe cash flow constraints based on the current financial and economic conditions in the region” and had to pay wages a few days late.

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