International Transport Workers’ Federation head renews call for LIAT talks with Prime Minister

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General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Stephen Cotton
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By Samantha Simon

[email protected]

Requests to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the issues hindering the successful establishment of LIAT 2020 by General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Stephen Cotton, remain open during his time in Antigua and Barbuda.

Cotton said he was disappointed that the Prime Minister had not responded to his request to meet for talks, which was sent prior to his arrival on island. The ITF is currently hosting the Tourism Services Convention in Antigua, along with the ITF’s executive board meeting, facilitating over 100 members.

Cotton’s request comes in light of moves to establish a new incarnation of the regional airline which fell victim to the Covid pandemic and is currently operating a limited schedule.

He also pointed out that in the eyes of the ITF, a successful tourism industry must be bolstered by the existence of a successful Caribbean airline.

Cotton followed up by pointing out that issues including LIAT’s outstanding severance for former workers and a 2020 legislative change to protect the airline from liquidation have caused grave concern to not only their local colleagues but also colleagues across the region.

The ITF reached out to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, requesting that he have a candid discussion with civil aviation professionals and come to an equitable solution.

He stated that they are still open to a meeting with the Prime Minister, as their vision for the tourism conference is that workers have a voice and that governments respect those voices as these systems would not work without the professionals that support them.

The 80-plus ITF delegates are in the country for the two-day conference with a further 100-plus members of the executive remaining for the rest of the week for their annual executive meeting.

PM Browne has been approached for comment.

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