Unions stand firm against LIAT proposal

The National Workers Union (NWU) has joined other trade unions in reiterating opposition to a proposed salary deferral system for staff employed with Antigua-based carrier, LIAT.

The NWU represents some 21 LIAT employees in Saint Lucia.

The union is part of the Standing Regional Consultative Council of Trade Unions which articulated its  position on the five-month deferral system during a meeting at LIAT’s headquarters on Tuesday.

Head of the group, General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah was quoted by Antigua Observer as saying that the position of the unions would remain unchanged until certain conditions are met.

Massiah said all the unions stand resolute behind the position which was laid out in a letter to the airline dated March 10.

He asserted that the regional group understands the full intention of the airline company and will not accept the deferral system.

The standing council first outlined its position to the airline in a letter dated March 10, to Acting Chief Executive Julie Reifer Jones.

The 11-member body said in the letter that they have adopted a position not to agree to any proposal until the company provides a recovery plan.

The group wants the plan to detail how LIAT will be able to return to a state of normalcy within the time frame indicated.

It also wants LIAT to present an overall business plan for the company; provide a comprehensive audit and hold a forum for unions, directors and shareholder governments to critically discuss the current state and  engage in the creation of a plan for the way forward for the airline.

The unions have  argued that in 2014 they participated in a salary deferral exercise which was projected for five months, but lasted for 14, without any tangible results.

The grouping said during that time staff at LIAT experienced severe financial and personal hardship.



  1. Anonymous
    March 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Good, we need to stop letting companies take advantage of us

  2. Calvin
    March 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Unfortunately, LIAT is merely defering the inevitable. The airline, in its current state is not sustainable.

    — Their fuel costs and procurement/supply chain are not adeuately risk anaged nor responsibly hedged.
    — Their Revenue Passenger Miles (colloquially known as ‘bum in seats’) ratio leaves many to question their cosing structure.

    In agriculture, one simply puts a sick animal out of its misery.

    LIAT, as it is presently structured, could be considered to be fat, overfunded, and resting on its laurels in wonderful denial with an attitude of “the OECS and carbbean governments would never let us go bankrupt, we’re LIAT!’.

    Times have changed. based on their structure, internal organizational culture, and use of cost-ineffective legacy aircraft, they are a dinosaur in the airline sector.

    Time for them to be dis-aggregated and to open up competetion for newer, agile, and more capable service providers.

    Like it or not, the days of sitting in an airterminal wtaching a mechanical crew work airside for our hours on an islander while it is delayed are gone everywhere else in the world.

    St. Lucians and our OECS cousins have long, very long, deserved better. Most of us know it. It is long overdue for it to happen.

    Better is already out there and waiting to serve our needs. Open up the skies to competiton. And, in some cases due to technological advances, open up the comeption to inclde other modes, such as high-speed catamarans and small regional jet aircraft.