The trade union representing LIAT workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines say they are still awaiting an appointment with former chair of the bankrupt airline’s former shareholder government, Prime Minister of SVG, Ralph Gonsalves.
In a press statement on Tuesday, Jeremiah Howard, president of the LIAT Workers Union, said that the airline’s SVG staff learnt by social media two months ago that LIAT (1974) Ltd, was going into liquidation.
Howard said that in a June 8 letter to Gonsalves, the SVG workers requested a meeting to discuss the matter.
“… and, to date, nine weeks have passed and we have still not received an appointment,” Howard said.
“The anxiety and frustration that is being experienced by the staff losing their jobs, through no fault of their own, is now exasperated by the poor communication with management and the failure to secure a meeting with the Prime Minister to resolve the matter of the outstanding salaries, severance pay and other benefits,” Howard said.
“We fully understand the complex nature of this situation, the legal ramifications and the current crises engendered by COVID-19, have resulted in an unprecedented economic fallout. However, our patience and understanding for the past nine weeks, is waning thin.
“The Prime Ministers of Barbados, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda have met with the LIAT staff of their respective countries regarding the same issues.
“This crisis is not just about our fiduciary interest but speaks to a moral obligation to show care and compassion to us as staff members of LIAT and by extension citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in this unprecedented time. We should be valued like the other shareholders’ citizens.”
Howard said that six active-duty staff have not received a salary since April.
“Their commitment and dedication despite the handling of this situation is exemplary. This arrangement is, however, under review and simply cannot continue given the lack of reciprocal care and concern for our staff members,” the press statement said.