A decision by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley could force other shareholder governments including Antigua and Barbuda, to reconsider the way it deals with severance payment to former LIAT workers.
Mottley said while the Government had no legal obligation to make the severance payments, the $10 million payout promised last month was an ex-gratia offer.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Barbados’s position could have implications for other former shareholder governments.
“I find it amazing that the majority shareholder has capped its liability to $75k and it has limited its liability to Barbadians only and not one person has frowned against that. Maybe Barbados has set a new paradigm for us to consider because if the majority shareholder is taking that position and then there is no resistance, maybe if we were to adopt that position, it could eliminate all the rhetoric over the years even though we would have made a superior offer,” Browne said
The last offer on the table from the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party is a 32% severance to former LIAT workers.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union and the government have not yet been able to find common ground on the severance payment to these former workers.
PM Browne accused the union of being unreasonable in their demands for 100% severance for these former workers but the Union insists that it is willing to sit and negotiate an appropriate offer.
Meanwhile, Former Barbadian workers at regional airline LIAT will receive their outstanding severance payments early next month.
Director of Finance and Economic Affairs in Barbados Ian Carrington said Government’s promise to pay full severance was close to being fulfilled.
“It’s just to arrange a meeting with the employees. The spreadsheet with all the payments the Prime Minister has outlined has already been completed. So, it’s just a matter of having the meeting with them and checking to see that their records are correct and making the payments as soon as possible,” he said.
“I would like to have this situation behind us once and for all…. It would be safer to say they would be paid early next month,” he said.
A maximum cash offer of $75 000 will be made. Where, after deductions, the balance is greater than $75 000, a portion will be paid in Series J Bonds.
Mottley had said the cash payments would cost the Government just over $4 million while the price tag for the bonds was a little under $6 million.