LIAT to start issuing termination letters today

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Regional airline LIAT is expected to start issuing termination letters to hundreds of employees and management officials today.

Well-placed sources in Antigua and Barbuda, where the company is based, disclosed this today following a meeting between the workers’ unions, the Leeward Islands Pilots Association (LIALPA) and the administrator of the proposed restructured airline, Cleveland Seaforth.

However, the source told  hat there is still some confusion over the termination process in that, according to the Antigua Labour Code, the staff had already been terminated due to the length of time they have been laid off.

One staff member is questioning the implications of a recent statement by Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne that he wants to rehire 100 employees after terminating all contracts.

“If he is keeping 100 people, what happens to the other 570 who will be on the streets? That also means 25 pilots will be sent home,” the worker asked.

The source said the staff is also concerned about severance pay which appears to be in immediate doubt.

“Severance figures will be available in draft next Friday to give the employees a chance to question the figures if necessary. These figures will also include owed retroactive pay, vacation pay and owed salaries. The overall severance figure has increased. The figures are derived from the Collective Agreements and/or the Labour Code in the absence of an agreement,” said the informant.

Two options that emerged, according to the source, are the sale of the LIAT assets, except secured debt, such as three ATR 42 aircraft.

Barbados TODAY has been told that if this option is used, “we are looking at five cents on the dollar.”

Another option is two potential investors indicating they may consider paying the severance of the workers.

“No governments have indicated directly that they are willing to pay severance at this time. This can change when the final report has been made by the administrator. The administrator is putting forward another concept which is gaining some traction, but it is too early to discuss currently,” the source stated.

It is understood that the administrator has to present his report to the law courts no later than November 20, 2020 and has promised to come back and discuss his report with all unions.

“The administrator had mentioned in the past, the idea of approaching CARICOM for assistance to pay severance; however, he has not done it as yet,” Barbados TODAY has been told.

According to a source close to the meeting, the administrator said the five cents on the dollar could be reduced, if the Antigua Government took back the money it had put into the airline.

The meeting was also informed that LIAT cannot resume operations on November 1 because there is a lot to be done, including maintenance of one ATR 42 aircraft.

“The administrator has said that there is a belief that LIAT could operate a small schedule for three months fully funded by the Antigua Government. They will be flying two of the 42s owned by the company and do not know where the PM got the idea that it was four planes. It is the hope that after the three months, a new investor will take over the company next year,” disclosed the source close to the talks.

LIAT is in the process of being restructured and the intention is to fly again under a smaller operation.

When contacted, President of LIALPA Patterson Thompson told Barbados TODAY he still had to have follow up talks on the termination issue and therefore had no comment to make at this time.

The administrator could not be reached for a response.

10 COMMENTS

    • Stay alert I was wondering where you guys was all this time I can’t remember how many articles LIAT Browne or the Administrator put out but not once a mention of repayment for the ticket holders and they would expect those same customers to fly with LIAT again but I’m saying no way would I be flying LIAT again without getting my money back.

      • That is because you don’t listen. Because the PM did answer that question last weekend on his radio show. He said, no one should expect to be refunded, but surely they will receive credit for future travel. And that is very normal. American Airline has never yet refunded me money for any fault on their part. I always receive credit for future tickets.

        • Your assuming that everyone in the Caribbean listen to his nonsense radio show the same way he’s telling the press every week LIAT this and that come straight out and tell the ticket holders they not getting refunded the people need their CASH back not vouchers to be put back in the same situation 2 or 3 months down the road when his foolhardy plan goes belly up LIAT could have had another life but not headquartered in Antigua or run by Browne but his stance was LIAT in Antigua or no LIAT.

        • Only if the credit is good for one Caribbean or airantilles because the only way you can fly on liat now is in a dream.

  1. The employees should be paid all that they are due from the funds of those who are directly responsible for causing the fall of LIAT. They know who they are. I notice most times when govt involved, nothing ever goes right or lasts.

    If we don’t pay our taxes, we get hit with fines and interest. When govt owe us, they don’t want to pay we interest and worse yet, they want to pay pennies on the dollar. Govt has forgotten long time that it works for the people not the other way around. If course isn’t changed, the govt will run our nation and our people into rack and ruin.

    As we can already see govt already selling out our lands to the Chinese for cheap or as “gifts”. Who is building the mega dock at the Port? A Chinese company. You think dem a do for free? When and I say WHEN NOT IF, WHEN Antigua can’t pay back the loan to China (we all know this is not a “gift” as Gaston said), China will then take over the Port as their property (state within a state) and that will be their gateway to Antigua. They will then establish their marine fleet in Antigua and the Caribbean which will in turn be our country’s ultimate demise. We will become slaves to the Chinese.

    It’s happening right before our eyes and still people will continue to vote the misleaders in. When I say misleaders, I mean all those who are in it for creative personal enrichment REGARDLESS of party affiliation. We need to stop the misleaders from raping us, our country, our culture and our future children.

  2. LIAT… If you really cared about the traveling public you would immediately make arrangements to refund passengers the 11 million dollars you received in money for tickets yet left people stranded all over the region. Why should we ever trust that you won’t do the exact same thing again???

    Furthermore, it was the employees that worked decades for you. Yet you are now putting them out on the street without a cent of their legally entitled severance!!! Really LIAT?? And you plan now to return to the skies??? ZERO SHAME!!

  3. In my opinion the process is going much too fast. I have been involved in restructuring of big companies before and it takes at least six months to a year to have everything completed. Yes the first to get their walking ticket in the first 90 days are the top managers as they are mainly responsible for where the company is. Sorry before that you send home the entire board of course. But the staff you sent home after you have done a Human Resource Audit. And that takes time. I wonder if BDO is that fast, or if my friend Cleaveland is under pressure to get the job done faster. Not knowing the fact I would have thought he would have been back to the court requesting more time.
    i wish him all the best in the very important exercise for not only Antigua and Barbuda, but for the entire Caribbean. History will be made when LIAT is back in the skies.

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