Thursday, April 12, 2012

Labor Minister to intervene in Liat impasse

St. John’s Antigua- The Ministry of Labour has invited Liat and the Antigua & Barbuda’s Workers (ABWU) to the bargaining table in an attempt to stave off threatened industrial action over outsourcing that would make 25 local employees redundant.

This development came a day after ABWU General Secretary, Senator David Massiah warned the company of “dire consequences” if it failed to rescind letters which informed staff of the Quikpak Cargo Department that they would be without jobs from Sunday.

Massiah told Observer Media Wednesday that he “welcomed the intervention by the Labour Ministry” and would be present for the talks since the issue has “serious implications all round.”

“We are interested in making sure the right position and the right decision are arrived at, at the end of the day.” The talks are slated for 10 am on Friday.

LIAT’s Corporate Communications Manager Desmond Brown said the company has “willingly agreed” to the meeting, noting that it was a welcomed development that should “provide comfort to the airline’s passengers” and ensure there is no disruption to operations.

He also pointed out that contrary to some media reports, Caribbean Airport Services CAS, the handling company expected to take over aspects of LIAT’s handling services for Cargo and Quikpak in Antigua, is an Antigua-based company.

Brown noted that CAS, which is majority-owned by LIAT, already provides ground handling services for LIAT and had been set up in 2002 with the purpose of providing outsourced ground handling and other airport services to airlines operating at the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua.

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