By Theresa Goodwin
Union leaders representing ex-employees of LIAT are once again calling on the Antigua government to have a “meaningful dialogue” on the issue of severance no later than Wednesday, December 15th, 2021.
This most recent deadline was outlined in a statement issued late last week by the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU)
According to the statement, the Consultative Mechanism of Unions representing various categories of LIAT employees held a virtual meeting last Tuesday to examine the last communication issued by the government, and will not be accepting the offer as presented.
“The unions are of the view that the “take it or leave it” and “what we say must go” utterance is counterproductive and not in keeping with good and acceptable industrial, labour and human relations practices,” the release said.
The bodies are therefore urging the government to “expeditiously and meaningfully engage” them with a view to effecting a resolution, sooner rather than later.
So far, union leaders have rejected the fifty percent severance offer which is payable in cash, bonds or land, or a combination where possible.
Recently, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has spoken of another arrangement that involves a sale and leaseback arrangement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, covering all the chattel assets of LIAT.
Proceeds from this would be utilised to make urgent severance payments to eligible existing and displaced employees, as priority creditors. This offer is in lieu of the fifty percent compassionate payment.
Union leaders have demanded more clarity on the different offers, however, the Prime Minister has insisted they will have to either accept or reject the offers which will not remain on the table for long.