The Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union has written to Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne to secure an audience to discuss unresolved matters involving former workers at the Jolly Beach Resort and Caribbean Airport Services (CAS).
In the correspondence to Prime Minister Browne, ABWU Deputy General Secretary, Bro. Chester Hughes, noted that the closure of the Jolly Beach Resort had affected over 500 families. Hughes further explained that “when the hotel closed, employees were owed millions of dollars in retroactive payments, vacation pay, severance, unpaid wages and retirement fund contributions which were deducted from salaries and withheld from the bank.”
Although this matter has been adjudicated on by the courts and an order issued for the payment of funds, to date, funds have not been forthcoming.
The correspondence calls on the Prime Minster to facilitate discussion with the ABWU as the government has articulated its interest in reactivating the property by securing private investors.
Concerning the former employees of Caribbean Airport Services, the correspondence notes that “over 150 employees were affected when flights stopped coming [due to the pandemic] and more so with issues surrounding LIAT 1974 Ltd.” LIAT 1974 Ltd., now in administration has 51% ownership in CAS.
Hughes explains in the correspondence that CAS management has repeatedly indicated that they “have been waiting on the Administrator of LIAT 1974 Ltd., to advise them of the verdict with regards the funds to pay employees outstanding severance.”
As the matter is so closely connected to LIAT 1974 Ltd, the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union believes that the Prime Minister’s involvement is essential.
The Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union anticipates a favourable response from the office of the Prime Minister to its invitation to meet and achieve meaningful dialogue and clarity on these matters.