The Public Service Union (PSU) says it is concerned that immigration officers assigned to the Argyle International Airport are no longer allowed to park in the staff parking section.
The recent development is a marked move from the provisions that have been made since the airport began operating on Feb. 14, 2017.
“It is understood that Senior Officers have been granted passes for free parking while others have to pay a cost of $75.00) per month which … came into effect … 22nd September 2018,” Philip Bailey, the union’s general secretary, said in a statement on Thursday.
Bailey said there are 24 immigration officers working at the AIA on a shift system, of which only eight should be parking there at any given time.
He, however, noted that it takes “a few minutes for change of shift.
“According to one officer any lapse during this period can significantly impede the smooth functioning of the airport, taking into consideration the role and function of these officers,” Bailey further said in the statement.
“We need to take into consideration the proximity of the AIA from the main road, the transportation system, the scheduled time work finishes at nights and the safety of these workers.
“The St Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union sees this as an extra financial burden on the pockets of these workers given the present economic climate, not just locally, regional but also internationally.
“In light of this fact, the PSU condemn such actions and is calling on the management of the AIA and the Honourable Minister of National Security to intervene given the crucial matter that is at hand.
H said the union has written to the permanent secretary on this matter but had not received any response, hence the press statement.
“The Public Service Union takes the matter of its members very seriously and we are impressing upon others to do likewise,” Bailey said.
On Tuesday, iWitness News contacted, via email, Tabia Matthews, a marketing and public relations officer at the airport asking if the airport had any comments on the issue.
Matthews responded shortly after, asking to be given some time before responding to the request for comment.
She then contacted iWitness News about an hour later, sending us what appears to be a report on a release in which the PSU said on Monday that it “disavowed any public statement made by the Grievance Officer in the past or any he continues to make purportedly on behalf of the PSU”.
In that release on Monday, sent by its general secretary, the PSU said it wishes to state that “any dissemination of information to its members or the public will be done via the PSU Facebook account, its Radio Programme on Majic 103.7 FM, Press Releases or Press Conferences”.
Matthews told iWitness News that if we are aware of any authorised public announcement, we should share it with them
In response, iWitness News noted to Matthews that we had not contacted AIA regarding any press statement allegedly issued by the PSU’s grievance officer.
“Since your comment suggests some doubt about the authenticity of the release to which I refer, it might be best for you to contact the PSU and verify whether the statement was an authorized one,” Kenton X. Chance, executive editor of iWitness News said to Matthews.
iWitness News said that should Mathews conclude her verification before its article is ready for publication it would be included and that consideration would be given for a follow-up story if that were not the case.
Before contacting Matthews, iWitness News, in light of the PSU’s statement on Monday, had taken steps to verify the authenticity of the release sent last week.