LIAT workers get stay of termination
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday April 19, 2012 – The ongoing discussions between representatives of LIAT, the unions and the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Labour has proved a saving grace for the 25 LIAT workers who should have been on the breadline this week.
Mediator in the dispute, Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Labour Dr Errol Cort, has told Antigua media that it was agreed that the terminations would be deferred to allow for further dialogue.
At the heart of the dispute, over which hangs the cloud of a region-wide disruption of intra-Caribbean travel through threatened industrial action, is the firing of those LIAT workers as a result of the regional airline’s decision to outsource its Quikpak & Cargo Operations in Antigua.
The stay of termination will be at least for two weeks following the meeting between all parties last Friday, April 13, at which it was agreed by request of Minister Cort that there would be a two week extension of the time-frame for a consultation between the company and select representatives of the company’s unions.
The meeting between LIAT, Ministry of Labour officials, and the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), agreed to reconvene on April 23, 2012, to finalise these matters.
According to a joint-release issued by LIAT and ABWU following last week’s meeting, the planned consultation will be chaired by the Minister of Labour and is intended to provide an opportunity for additional dialogue between the unions and the company on the company’s business plans for 2012 and going forward.
In providing an update to the media, Dr Cort said LIAT had agreed to prepare and circulate to the unions all necessary and relevant information that would be guiding the future of the company and this information should be circulated by tomorrow (April 20).
Dr Cort also disclosed that the meeting he will chair next Monday will include representation from other unions throughout the region. He said the meeting would encompass full dialogue on LIAT’s business plan and where the company is going, and allow the unions the opportunity to weigh in and express their views on the company’s direction as outlined.