Dismissed LIAT Workers Create Protest Video

LIAT’s former shareholder-governments have been warned that they could face legal action if immediate steps are not taken to pay workers their severance and other entitlements.

A news article appearing in Barbados TODAY reports that the former workers have mounted a virtual placard-bearing protest action, calling for their money and outlining some of the hardships they now face.

More than half of the staff were severed last year, while just over 100 persons were retained,so the airline could resume operations.

In the TODAY article, it was noted that Cleveland Sea-forth, the court-appointed administrator, has written to the heads of the shareholder governments.  He placed them on notice that legal action could be taken against them regarding their financial obligations to the former employees.  

Seaforth’s letter, dated January 22, 2021, was addressed to the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, along with eight other CARICOM Heads of Government.

In earlier interviews, Seaforth indicated that payment to the staff is some way off, since the restructured company has no money.However, his letter warned the Heads that they risk exposing themselves legally if no efforts are made to pay the dismissed workers.

The former employees are owed EC$119 million in entitlements. Some EC$79 million of that sum is outstanding severance, which is now owed for almost a year.

Meanwhile, their special protest video has gone into circulation across social media.  It highlights the financial difficulties they are experiencing and the risk of losing their homes, among other possessions.

The video, which is one minute and 48 seconds long, shows several ex-employees holding signs, some of which read: “Once essential servants, now seemingly discarded;” “We can no longer afford medical insurance coverage for ourselves or our families;” and “Our mortgages and rent payments are in arrears.”

It ends with a message to the shareholder governments and the airline: “For many years we have served the region diligently and at great sacrifice. We need what is due to us urgently. We need help now!”

The action is reportedly being mounted by pilots, engineers, flight attendants and mechanics.

There are now over 560 former LIAT staff on the breadline.

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