Strike by LIAT workers short-lived

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday April 21, 2011 – About 200 LIAT workers who walked off the job to protest what they said were instances of unfair termination and suspension, and outstanding monies and contract negotiations, are back on the job today after agreeing to meetings that will seek to resolve their grievances.

Some of LIAT’s employees from the V C Bird International Airport as well as the city ticketing office gathered outside the airline’s headquarters yesterday morning to demand a resolution to the issues.

Their action, which came ahead of an expected busy Easter weekend for LIAT, did not affect the flight schedule but forced the airline’s management to enter discussions with the Antigua Workers Union (AWU) and some staff representatives.

By late afternoon, the workers were back on the job after it was agreed that, starting today and continuing every Tuesday, discussions will be held until the problems have been resolved.

LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Challenger said in a statement that the airline had not been notified of the issues prior to the work stoppage and that the union had failed to give the required seven days notice before embarking on industrial action.

He said the company’s grievance procedures should be utilized in order to air and resolve outstanding issues.

“LIAT’s management remains committed to a fair and equitable working relationship with all employee groups,” the statement added.

However, Challenger noted that the present regional and international economic situation, as well as escalating fuel prices, presented severe financial challenges to LIAT and therefore called on all employees to act in a responsible manner. 

LIAT has been plagued by industrial relations issues for the past several years. 

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