LIAT To Become Essential Service


The government says it will take legislation to Parliament when it next sits to declare LIAT an essential service, as defined under the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code.

“The Cabinet is seeking to protect the investment in LIAT and to help ensure its long-term survivability,” according to notes from this week’s meeting of the executive.

Such a classification would place limits on labour actions on the staff based on the importance of the service to the country.

This announcement has come as there are moves to restructure LIAT. 

The government also announced today that it has authorized a new loan facility from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in the amount of US$16 million dollars, to re-capitalize LIAT while it undertakes restructuring.

“The Cabinet accepts that its efforts are designed to save the airline which is vital to the survival of the sub-region, and to Antigua and Barbuda’s national interests.”

The governments that own shares in LIAT are seeking to have other Caribbean countries served by LIAT to join in burden-sharing.

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  1. First of all the name of the airline ‘LIAT’ really sucks. Can’t anybody come up with a better name than that? Also, the LIAT needs to have more partnership and code shares with U.S., EU and Asian airlines, to increase the flow of aviation passengers. Maybe we can have a CIP investment option geared towards investing in an Antigua owned airline?

  2. I fail to understand how Politicians can just go and change the laws to make just about anything an essential service. While I can understand electricity, water, telephone and health services can be so classified, I am at a lost as to why LIAT. It is clear to me that the government wants to stifle workers rights to industrial action and this is why they are poised to make LIAT an essential service. With Barbados recent announcement that there would be changes, this has put the government under tremendous pressure as Barbados, the majority share holder, is pressing its claim for LIAT headquarters to relocate there. Barbados sees the workforce in Antigua frickle and liable to take industrial action if things are not in their favour. Additionally, there could be new salary arrangements, new salary guidelines that the staff at LIAT especially here in Antigua might be forced to accept and was mentioned in the release. The government clearly wants to prevent any pre-emptive strike by the local workforce, hence the reason for the designation “Essential Service.” I am urging the Bargaining Unit and the workers to beware of this as its a trap designed to prevent them from standing up for their rights.

  3. None of this will change Liat for the better. As long as politicians are involved in anything, it will eventually go to the dogs. To change the culture of a company you have to start from the top. Managers are the leaders and until and unless changes start there , nothing will get better in the company.

    Leadership by force is all Caribbean people seem to know. This is not a progressive model and will eventually fail. Stifling workers and making them unhappy only spells trouble downs the road. It is so unfortunate that our leaders in the region never do any introspection and try to see if they need to improve themselves. It’s all egotism and behaviors like little Gods. We will be back here in a few years when this initiative fails yet again.

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