Unions representing former LIAT workers to discuss PM Browne’s offer next week before plug is pulled

Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s offer to hundreds of former LIAT workers is expected to be discussed and examined during a Zoom  meeting next week.

According to an article in BARBADOS TODAY, the respective trade unions representing employees across the region will look at the offer, since they have been given until the end of this year to accept it.

The article says that David Massiah, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), has indicated that each union will make its submission on the “compassionate” offer from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, through PM Browne.

Browne is proposing a 50 percent payout of the outstanding severance – in cash, bonds and/or land – owed to the former pilots, flight attendants, engineers and other staff from the region.

An offer of scholarships to the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus was also made.

The former workers have been on the breadline since April 2020, and they reportedly were given a month to respond to the offer, the article says.

Massiah, who is expected to lead the discussion in a few days, says a decision will be made with regard to the deadline that was issued by the Government.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston,  served notice on the unions and workers this past Tuesday, November 30, that the Government will withdraw its offer to the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) and all other former employees at the beginning of the New Year.

At that time, Weston indicated, the Browne Administration will be moving on,  and  LIAT 1974 Limited, which is currently in administration, could be wound up and LIAT 2020 launched.

Weston warned employees that if the law is followed and the company is wound up, its assets will be sold. “The net assets will then be divided according to the law, with the ranking of individuals… spread out among all the beneficiaries,” he said

The former workers do have the right to refuse the Government’s offer, but any benefits resulting from a liquidated company would be less than the current offer, Weston states.