The Cabinet is optimistic that another offer to former LIAT workers – those who are citizens of Antigua and Barbuda – will be accepted by them and their union.
Reportedly, the offer is intended to settle with the workers, who have been waiting for their severance and gratuities for over two years.
The Administration reports that it continues to negotiate with LIAT’s court-appointed receiver in this regard. And it claims that every effort will be made toward the final payment of a lump sum to all former staff who reside here.
Previous attempts to get the workers to accept a portion of their money were not met favourably. However, the Cabinet believes that a better response is likely this time around.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Gaston Browne continues to blame the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union for not persuading its membership to accept the previous offer rather than end up with nothing.
In Browne’s opinion, his Administration is under no legal obligation to pay the workers’ severance, and he deemed his first offer as a matter of “compassion.”
Last December (2021), the Browne Administration deposited EC$2 million with the airline’s receiver and guaranteed payment of 50% of the amount owed to the former employees who are citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda.
The payment comprised cash, bonds, lands and scholarships to The University of the West Indies-Five Islands.
However, only a few of the former workers – who went on the breadline in April 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic –accepted the payout, with a significant portion of the funds remaining with the receiver.
In contrast, the United Progressive Party (UPP) has pledged – once elected – to pay the former LIAT employees 100 percent of their entitlements.