The United Progressive Party in Antigua and Barbuda is giving former LIAT workers across the region what they are calling a “solemn promise”, that all their severance will be paid under a UPP Government.
“The United Progressive Party is giving you a solemn undertaking that the matter of your severance and your entitlements will be paid and we will treat it as a priority,” UPP Leader Harold Lovell told his first political rally recently.
Prime minister Gaston Browne has offered former LIAT workers only in Antigua and Barbuda a one-time compassionate offer of fifty percent of their severance to be paid in cash and bonds.
But Lovell said “this is not a matter of compassion. This is a matter of a moral, legal and spiritual obligation to the workers of LIAT,”.
He said a UPP government will pay these workers through “negotiation, consultation and compromise with you, the workers and your union representatives; we will get this outstanding matter resolved once and for all.”
Lovell added, “These are your entitlements; this is what you work for and this is what you deserve.”
However, Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party leader, PM Browne has said that Lovell is fooling former LIAT workers with the severance promise and has called on the UPP leader to stop making promises to former LIAT workers that he knows he cannot afford to keep.
The cash strapped airline took a nose dive in 2020 during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Owned by a handful of Caribbean shareholder governments, LIAT 1974 Ltd had provided crucial regional connectivity for decades but folded when the Covid pandemic exacerbated its long-standing financial woes.
A new downsized incarnation of the carrier has been operating a reduced schedule with a limited workforce since November 2020.