Union boss lays blame for ongoing LIAT saga squarely at the feet of Government’s divide-and-rule policy


In a voice at times filled with frustration and boiling anger, yesterday, David Massiah, General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union, left no doubt that the current LIAT situation is the fault of the Government.

The Union is the main bargaining agent for the airline’s former workers, and Massiah is attempting to clear up some of the misinformation coming out of the Browne Administration.

The Union’s General Secretary notes that, when appointed, the airline’s Administrator was given four months to bring the issue to a conclusion.  And yet, 18 months later, there is still no resolution, he says.

Massiah was cutting in his response to the new narrative coming from Junior Minister of Finance Lennox Weston.

Massiah says Weston had promised, earlier, that the Government would bring negotiations with all LIAT unions across the region under one umbrella body; but not even that promise has been fulfilled.

He says it was only recently – after making inquiries – that the Union learned that Barbados’ shares in LIAT had not been disposed of.

Meanwhile, the Union met last Thursday with former workers who refused to accept the Government’s so-called “compassionate” relief. Massiah says the Union gave its word that it will carry this fight to its natural end, even if there is only one person left to fight for. — REAL NEWS

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  1. Trupz.

    They (the workers being advised by the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union) will understand how barley grow when L.I.A.T. 1974 LTD is dissolved.

    They will understand how much money they would have lost out on.

  2. The LIAT workers are being royally screwed over and are being spoken to by Gaston in a contemptuous manner for simply asking for their lawful entitlement. The Labour Code gives them severance entitlement but Gaston treats them like dirt because they want what they are legally entitled to be paid. What kind of leader is that? If Singh refused to pay Gaston his humongous US$20,000.00 monthly house rent, do you think Gaston would simply sit back and do nothing or would he ask Singh for his full rent payments? Of course he would ask for his rent! Why shouldn’t the LIAT Worker’s do the same? Everyone got to live and eat.

    • This is the ignorance that baffles me in this country.

      The Labour Code speaks of a workers right to his/her severance or equity.

      Do you not know about the COMPANY ACT? If not, please educate yourself.

      Find out how the COMPANY ACT impacts on severance or equity?

      What your union (A.B.W.U.) and ALL unions in this country should be doing is MARCHING THE PAVEMENTS UNTIL THE SITTING GOVERNMENT (whomever they may be) BRINGS LEGISLATION TO BOOK TO HAVE EMPLOYEES SERVERANCE/EQUITY PROTECTED (PUT IN AN ESCROW ACCOUNT) so that in the event a company goes bankrupt, workers severance /equity is there in the bank waiting for them.

      Workers in this country WILL continue to suffer this fate until LEGISLATION IS BROUGHT TO BOOKS.

      What the hell do rent payments or the lack thereof have to do with the L.I.A.T. issue?

      In my opinion, the problem here is that UNIONS ARE SLEEPING ON THE JOB and unfortunately, it does not appear to be priority to government at this time.

      • Well said. In this you also see their heads are finally illeterate (LIAT is bankrupt). What’s worse is their unwillingness to take advise

        • You misspelled “illiterate” and “advice”. You just accused someone of being ILLITERATE and at the same time misspelled the words illiterate and advice. So, who is the illiterate one now?

    • @Not So Common – Boss they were screwed long ago and you are in essence placing the blame on the wrong person. The union knew LIAT’ financial ituaation and did not put proper meassures in place to protect the workers. How many times have we seen hotels and other biz go bust with a worse reult? The workers at what used to be Food City, are still waiting for their moneys (some 500k)from a biz that closed in 2009. What you seem to not understand is you can’t get blood from stone. If Singh company goes bankrupt, rent payments are not ranked as highy as for eg (taxes, employee payments…). Creditors in bankruptcy situations tend to get pennies on the dolllar or many times, nothing at all

  3. Silly season has begun. All the affiliates of the UPP are up and ready for the election. And causing confusion is the best they can think of. Observer will of course provide the platform for them to make all kinds of dumb and unsubstantiated statements. Note he said that what Barbados did was good. Barbados gave the LIAT workers in Barbados a sum of money as a LOAN. They have to pay it back. Barbados, the largest shareholder of LIAT did not make the offer to any former LIAT worker in Antigua or the rest of the other Islands. Yet the Union had no problem with that. Barbados did not consult anyone on this so-called good gesture. The cry was why Antigua government could not do something for the LIAT workers in Antigua. Now the caring government thinking outside the box, went to an even better arrangement. Former Antigua based LIIAT workers had the option to sign off for 50% of their severance pay, with a down payment in cash for the time being. This will be based on a certain formula which is to be negotiated individually. Because not everyone would get the same amount or the same percentage of their severance in cash. Some would be a bond; some could be a land offer. But at least you are guaranteed 50% of your severance. A liquidation of LIAT could span over several years. And in the end workers may end up getting 10 cents on the dollar. Yet the Unions claim to be acting in the best interest of the workers. I say again to the workers. Look at what happened to the Stanford workers. Look what happened to the Half Moon Bay workers. Look what is happening to the Bargain Centre workers. Look what happened to the Sugar Mill Hotel workers. Look what happened to Food City workers. And there are many more workers today still waiting for severance from companies that closed many years ago. You are not unique. Take a lesson and learn. Your Union is not being honest with you. Take the best deal you can get now and forget about what the law says. The practice is completely different. A company is not liquidated overnight. And the receiver takes out his fees first and pays preferential creditors first. The CDB is one such creditor. The governments have indicated that they have no legal obligations to you. And that is according to the Company’s Act. Therefore, anything they give is called a compassionate payment. As a taxpayer I would not want my government to take my tax dollars and choose whom they will pay severance to. Especially since they are not legally obligated to do so.

    • Like king liar told them there is a santa claus in the wings. He will appear only when UPP win. Imgine this generrous person will pay out a 120 million liabilty and still deal with the high cash flow demands of a risky industry. Have seen Stanford, Butch Stewart run from the same industry. Virgin Atlantic filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

      • Lmao 🤣😂😆🤣😂 that is the same owl, tyadd, recycled shtick used by King Lyadd Lovell Limpy Joe. “Santa Claus 🎅 will appear only if you vote upp” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

        Any entity that tries to hoodwink its members while defending Sir George STEEL FRAME Walters is a joke 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  4. It is known by all that LIAT does not have sufficient moneys to meet even the severance liability of its workers, much less the other creditors. The union wrongly argued that A&B government as the one shareholder should be responsible for meeting all the debts. They said that by taking over BDS shares, A&B is now responsible for BDS share of the debt to employes. Does not matter to them that this argument has no legal basis. Corportions are their own person. Imagine if I were to be held personally responsible for the debts of companies I simply hold shares in. Anyway they now learn that BDS still holds its shares, they still making noise. If ony they would stop shouting any seek to have a convo, this thing would be long resolved

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