Dear Prime Minister,
We continue to express gratitude for the correspondence dated 20th November which identifies a modified version of the September 3rd concept to pay all terminated and soon to be terminated employees of LIAT (1974) Ltd. This is the only concept, to date, that offers some financial relief to all staff members.
We are very disappointed that your caring cabinet was not convinced by you to award the fifty (50%) percent on entitlements. You stated that you understood the gravity of the situation and you stood by your word.
It is also very unfortunate that you have closed the door to further discussions on the issue.
You have charged the union leaders with the almost impossible task of convincing its membership that this is a superior offer. The letter dated November 20th has significantly changed the clarifications discussed in the October 8th meeting. Specifically, the offer eliminates land as being a guaranteed component of the deal by stating “bonds & land; or a combination of the foregoing wherever possible”
This is precisely why we sought to meet with you, to get clarity for our members. Now, we are forced to consider a vaguely written proposal again.
We are experiencing trouble trying to decipher the following:
- When will the 30 % of the cash be available?
- How will these funds be disseminated?
- Where are the plots of land?
- Are the lands developed or undeveloped?
- What is the value per square foot?
- When will we see the decree from the Cabinet waiving the Alien Landowner’s License and associated fees and taxes?
- Who will be responsible for initiating the UWI degree program at the Five Islands Campus?
- Will the bonds be listed on the OECS Stock Exchange as stated before?
- Is the 2% rate on the bonds per year or 10 years for an overall rate of 2%?
- Will these bonds be insured?
- Will there be any penalties on the Government if the timelines stated are broken?
- What is the implementation date?
- Can employees select different permutations of the offer?
- For those who wish to accept this offer, where do they sign?
The lack of details and structure makes it impossible for most to make an informed decision. We are left to believe that the Government does not fully appreciate the dire circumstances that we experience every day. This scepticism has been fuelled by the length of time it has taken to transform your concept first mentioned in 2020, to a written document on September 3rd, 2021, and then finally, on November 20th 2021.
Many of us find it inconceivable that this is a compassionate offer because of the non-recourse approach. If this were truly a compassionate offer, we should not have to the sign away our rights to any proceeds from the sales of the Company’s assets. This is further compounded by the fact that no other shareholder has offered a long-term solution to our owed entitlements. This is not easy decision to make as hard-earned funds are being left on the table.
We fully appreciate that these are taxpayers’ funds however, you have preferred to spend $500,000 XCD per month on a visibility schedule, rather than to settle the amounts owed to the terminated employees of LIAT. Some of whom have given, over 40 years to the airline.
This has been an inordinately long process, most of the terminated employees have not worked for 20 months, and any savings have long been depleted.
If this concept is to be successful, we urge that you provide a structured offer with timelines. We are hopeful for an amicable solution to make this offer a palatable one. This may encourage all terminated employees to accept the offer and access these greatly needed resources.