Massiah: Seaforth’s response to ABWU’s request to discuss ex-LIAT workers issue is ‘evasive’

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Massiah

OBSERVER: LIAT’s Administrator Cleveland Seaforth has responded via letter to the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) after failing to meet a deadline to discuss the plight of former LIAT workers. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP FOR NEWS UPDATES.

However, Seaforth’s response is not sitting well with ABWU’s General Secretary David Massiah, who said the blatant disregard for the workers who have been on the breadline since 2020, became more apparent in the letter which he labelled “evasive”.

Last week, Massiah — who had become overly concerned after LIAT shareholder governments decided to liquidate the airline, following talks on August 2nd — wrote to Seaforth to request an August 11th deadline to hold talks, but Seaforth seemingly ignored that demand to engage with the union, and instead responded to the ABWU by way of the written correspondence.

But in his very technical response, Seaforth said that “discussions held by the Heads of Government are separate and apart from the Court-Appointed Administration Process, hence the Administrator may not be fully aware of all the matters discussed at such meetings.

“The matter of the liquidation of Liat (1974) Ltd is one that must be addressed by the Courts of Antigua and Barbuda and a Liquidator subsequently appointed. In respect of the above, once the Administrator has been fully informed on the above-mentioned matters, a proposed date and time for a meeting with the unions will be communicated,” he wrote, making no mention of the request to meet.

But Massiah told our newsroom yesterday that “his response did not add up to anything in regards to where we actually want to go. His response was very evasive. He is basically telling us that this is a matter for the government to announce. But what I anticipated would come from him as administrator, would be an opportunity to sit down with the union just to bring us up to speed as to where things are”.

Irrespective of what Seaforth said in his response to the ABWU, Massiah remains adamant that the administrator is under a statutory duty to make sure he provides information to the union.

“From all indications, he has failed on our end. We are not seeking to have any confrontational engagement. We would just like to have an opportunity to understand what the administration process has yielded so far and what is the liking for employees going forward,” Massiah said.

Massiah is also accusing Seaforth of turning a blind eye to the current plight of former LIAT workers.

“For a person who is a servant of the people at this stage in the position as court-appointed administrator, he deserved to have given a better response than he has done. He is turning a blind eye. At this time, you cannot put a proposed meeting in infinitum. There should be some sort of timeline of urgency which obviously Mr Seaforth has not given to this process,” Massiah added.

The ABWU intends to write another letter to Seaforth and Massiah said this document will be more “specific”.

LIAT has been operating a reduced schedule with a limited workforce since November 2020, and the former workers have been clamouring for their severance payments ever since the pandemic put the brakes on travel in March that year.

The administration process, which initially commenced in July 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic saw the airline take a nosedive, was expected to last for four months. It has now been ongoing for more than two years.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. As far as I’m concerned the Administrator is taking his orders from browne boy so until he gets the go ahead to talk with the unions he have to keep his trap shut.

  2. Massiah if you feel that the Administrator is under a statutory duty to make sure he provides information to the union, why don’t you take him to court then?
    You guys are always misleading and misinforming the public. A court appointed administrator or receiver has only one duty. And that is to report to the court. Remember when the Stanford workers were trying to get the PM to interfere and have them pay their severance? The receiver just laughed. They let the PM know that he has no authority over them whatsoever. They took their time to pay some of the workers only. And others were told that the company they worked for had no assets to sell. And those employees to date have not gotten a dime in severance. LIAT workers should stop listening to the Unions and take the offer that the PM has on the table. or they will end up with nothing, zero. 0.

    • The “offer” from the gangster PM is nothing but a scheme to fool the workers into accepting significantly less than they are entitled to so that the gangster PM can lower the severance bill and thus transfer the old LIAT assets into the new LIAT. No way will the workers allow this to happen. We’d rather take our chances with the liquidator than with a gangster, lying PM with an enviable track record of being dishonest and crooked to the core!!

      • They come as dumb as they are in the UPP camp. Liquidation is a process that can stretch for many years. And the receiver will first try to recover funds to pay the preferential debtor, CDB. Thereafter if anything is left Staff. So go on and give them your well thought of advice. I gave an example of the Stanford Group Asset, of which everyone knows was plenty. Buildings all over the place in Antigua are worth hundreds of millions, if not billions. Yet they sold them for 10 cents on the dollar. Destroying capital and at the same time collecting a hefty fee. LIAT doesn’t have that many Assets. And LIAT 2020 will buy them at peppercorn price.

        • The dishonest gangster PM wants the old LIAT assets at peppercorn rates but can’t do so until severance is paid. Therefore he is desperately hoping that he can fool or scare staff into accepting his disrespectful offer. This is why he is insisting that staff sign a letter stating that once they accept his measly offer they can NEVER EVER CLAIM THE REST OF THEIR SEVERANCE! The gangster PM not only is disrespectful of Antiguans and residents but he also believes them to be highly stupid! Please call the elections Hitler!

  3. Unions are waste a time and do things and say things based on which corner of their mouth they should speak from. At this point it is in their interest to speak against the administrator.

  4. Side Line let start with the Stanford liquidators you are the biggest benifisary imagine that your son was responsible for the security of the building at the water front who ended up with the building

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