Union wants severance payment for LIAT workers in St Vincent

Editorial Staff


St Vincent and the Grenadines is the latest LIAT shareholder government to come under pressure for severance to former workers

President of the LIAT Workers Union (LWU), Jeremiah Howard said it was quite unfortunate that the Ralph Gonsalves government has failed to address the issue

Howard said the government continues to remain silent on the issue.

“We are quite aware that COVID-19 brought about a tremendous number of challenges to all governments, and at no time did we expect an immediate solution. It was only reasonable to allow the government to assess their fiscal position and to readjust where necessary; but after three years, a severance payment of approximately EC$1.1 million for 43 workers is unreasonable”, he said.

Howard said that as the airline enters the third anniversary of its collapse “ to date, the progress or lack thereof is insignificant as the workers have not been compensated or remunerated”.

The major shareholders of the Antigua-based airline, are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.

The airline which was always plagued with financial issues took a turn for the worse in 2020 following increased debt and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,

Earlier this month, Barbados joined St. Lucia in providing severance payments for its nationals however Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines remain in limbo

Howard said that the LWU applauds the governments of Barbados and St. Lucia “for their understanding and support of the workers with the offer of cash and bonds”

“This is very commendable, and it begs the question as to why the LIAT St Vincent workers have not been able to secure a meeting with our Prime minister – the chairman of the shareholder governments,” he added.

Adding, “from the students going off to university needing a break with overweight with their books and personal items, to the executives and Government officials being afforded express check-in to accommodate their busy schedules, we, the workers, heard, saw and understood our passengers”

Just last week, the government made a new offer to the former LIAT workers in St Johns

“The government of Antigua and Barbuda owned a 32 percent share in LIAT (1974 Ltd) and cannot reasonably be expected to bear a bigger share of the burden than it may be legally required to contribute, had the airline owned assets sufficient to meet its debts obligations. It is estimated it will cost about EC$10 million,” Chief of Staff in the prime minister’s office Lionel max Hurst said.

“This third anniversary of the collapse, without being able to secure an audience, or an official response, concerning the severance issue is unconscionable. To simply ignore and not engage the very workers whose incomes, subsidized the airline by delayed salaries, salary cuts, and salary freezes, is totally unacceptable.”

1 Comment

  1. ACHA

    We are thankful for the help the government but can we get the name of those African migrants


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