In a heated exchange on radio this morning, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ex-LIAT Captain Patterson Thompson that the airline’s former workers can take the Government to court in order to obtain their full severance, since his Administration will not be budging on what he calls its “compassionate” offer.
Browne says he has made an offer that combines lands, bonds and even scholarships to the University of the West Indies to the former LIAT employees, many of whom are still on the breadline since being terminated last year.
Browne, who inserted himself into an Observer AM interview with Thompson today, November 23, says the workers would be foolish not to accept his offer, since the Government is under no obligation to pay them severance.
He says the offer of 50 percent of what they are owed will not change; so those who are asking for the full 100 percent can use the courts to try to obtain it.
The former LIAT pilots and other workers say they are concerned that correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary that details the Government’s position on the pay-out did not factually represent discussions.
Browne, however, claims that a firm position on issues related to the airline was given last weekend.
But Thompson, who was Chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Associations (LIALPA), says the correspondence omitted most of the key points discussed with the Prime Minister in an October 8 meeting.
The LIALPA Executive says it would also like to dispel the notion that any agreement was made in this meeting with PM Browne.
Meanwhile, Browne says he is still in support of a percentage of staff liabilities – on which the Cabinet is yet to decide.
LIAT workers are now requesting a meeting to discuss the discrepancies in the official Cabinet correspondence. However, Browne is not willing to meet with them.
Thompson says it is expected that a general meeting with former workers will be called next week; but, a date has not yet been confirmed.