ABWU Condemns PM Browne’s Attempt to Circumvent the Union in LIAT Severance Matter


It has come to the attention of the Antigua and Barbuda
Workers’ Union that Prime Minister Gaston Browne, has by way of a written statement and verbal remarks, indicated his intent to circumvent the Union — the legally recognized bargaining agent of the former and current LIAT (1974) employees — and establish an illegitimate direct engagement with the embattled employees of LIAT.

The Prime Minister is fully aware that such a move is a contravention of the legally established process and a direct assault on globally established conventions and practices in labour relations.

Moreover, this is a grave transgression against the principles of good governance and
representative democracy.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union takes this threat very seriously! We therefore call on our brothers and sisters in the labour movement — including the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) — to publicly condemn this attack on the labour movement. Further, we extend this call to the over 30,000 workers and union members that are protected by the Unions operating in this country.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne will not undermine this or any other Union in Antigua and
Barbdua! Lest we forget, it is the Unions that fought and brought an end to the exploitation in the sugar industry and among the earliest dock workers. Lest we forget, it is the Unions that have elevated the standard of living and quality of life for tens of thousands of workers employed across multiple industries.

Lest we forget, it is the Unions that have protected millions of dollars in
terminal benefits for workers over the past several decades. What we have achieved in the labour movement is a powerful and relentless force that will stop at NOTHING to protect the interest of workers.

Therefore, we indeed caution the Prime Minister to temper his rhetoric and abandon any
sinister plot to circumvent the legally recognized bargaining agent for the workers of LIAT (1974)Ltd.

It must be stated that the Unions agreed with the initial stance taken by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as a Shareholder of LIAT (1974) Ltd. not to liquidate and collapse the airline but to find ways of making LIAT a going concern. We must applaud the Governments of St Lucia and Barbados for accepting and implementing arrangements for paying LIAT (1974) Ltd. employees 100% of their severance entitlements plus other direct entitlements.

It must be remembered that the collective position of the Unions from the onset of this unfortunate development, was that there should be a 70% disbursement of cash to all affected LIAT employees and the remaining 30% of terminal benefit entitlements could be organized as shares in LIAT (1974) Ltd. or in any other LIAT formulation going forward. No opportunity has been given to the Unions to have this and other pertinent and relevant matters ventilated and agreed upon.

This divide-and-rule attitude by the Prime Minister and his Government is counter-productive and will not work in the best interest of the employees and is certainly not the right posture for resolving the broader question of regional travel.

Hence, we implore Prime Minister Gaston Browne, once again, to meet the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union at the negotiating table. Engagement with the Union is essential to ensure that the workers received a fair and reasonable settlement. Let there be no more unnecessary delays inending the suffering of the workers of LIAT (1974) Ltd.

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  1. Again, our Prime Minister promises much, but his delivery and implementation record to date has been wanting.

    Sadly, if the ABWU had made this move in the run-up to the General Election, this particular matter – and others – would have been resolved.

    Gaston Browne has returned to type, as many critical thinkers predicted.

    However, Antiguans can no longer complain after giving the ABLP another 5 years governance over us …

    • I am happy to see all those who voted for Porkston Browne now have to deal with the aftermath. They deserve all of the fall out. I hope all the freebies they get will keep coming after Porkston get kicked out of office and jailed.

  2. In the end the most important thing is for the workers LIAT 1974 Limited is to get their just desserts and live their well deserved life. The Gadton Browne Administration has implemented a plan on how this can be achieved not only for Antiguans and Barbudans but for everyone who have worked with LIAT 1974 Limited. The ABWU rejected that offer and they have outlined their reason for their objection. So at the moment the workers have not received anything from LIAT despite the fact that monies is sitting in a fund somewhere because of a Gaston Browne Administration initiative. The ABWU is crying fowl one more time while the workers of a private entity that went belly up are left to “sketch hell”. The tragedy of it all is that I do not see the union reps “ketching” hell either and their so love and care about the beautiful people of our twin island nation. Pay attention my peoples.

  3. When the union is not negotiating in good faith, you must make them obsolete. They are a stumbling block to getting a solution for the problem. They tried it with the Jolly Beach workers severance pay. Even when the monies were paid over to them, they took another three weeks to calculate what they could have been doing all along. In hindsight it was only done to get the workers agitated against the ABLP and hoped that would have led them to vote against the ABLP. I really would like to know how much of those funds they withhold as Union Fees for their lawyer. In my opinion the Receiver should have left them out and paid the funds directly to the workers.

    • You sound like an authoritarian figure. Unions have their place in the work environment – and rightly so!

      I bet you believe in ZERO HOURS contracts for the workforce as well @ Sideline …

  4. Why not use the pension monies for the ABWU executive to help pay the workers???

    Start with David massiah contributing his …

  5. You voted Porkston Browne back in again. You deserve everything she takes from you. Another 5 years then you can vote her back in again.

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