St John’s – The court-appointed administrator of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT (1974) Limited, said he has “no objection” discussing matters of concern with the unions representing the airline’s workers – but Cleveland Seaforth said the union must provide “an itemised list of topics” for the discussions.
The Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) has been seeking a meeting with Seaforth to discuss the future of the airline and said among the issues to be discussed will be the decision by the shareholder governments to liquidate the company that owes millions of dollars to former employees who were dismissed last year.
But Seaforth said in an August 11 letter that “discussions held by heads of government are separate and apart from the court-appointed administration process, hence the administrator may not be fully aware of all the matters discussed at such meetings”.
Seaforth opened the door a bit more for possible talks in his latest correspondence to the ABWU, dated September 6, saying: “Once we are in receipt of the proposed meeting topics, we will review and provide a finalised agenda and proposed dates for the meeting.”
Seaforth is also reminding the ABWU general secretary David Massiah “that the LIAT collective bargaining agreements with the unions were suspended in accordance with the court order granted on December 10, 2020, and all union heads were subsequently advised of the decision and the supporting documentation provided”.
But, he said, notwithstanding that situation he “has no objection to discussing matters of concern regarding the LIAT employees with the unions”.
In the past, the ABWU maintained that regular consultations and dialogue with employees and their representatives is essential considering all the outstanding issues that are relevant to the airline’s future.
LIAT was owned by the governments of Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG).
Antigua & Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne said previously that a decision had been taken that will enable Barbados and SVG to turn over their shares in LIAT to St John’s for EC $1 (37 U.S. cents) .
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Browne appealed to Caribbean trade unions to re-think their positions regarding the latest offer made to laid-off workers of the airline.