Press Release

ABWU Responds to New Comments from PM Browne on LIAT Severance Matter

Published On: Mar 17, 2023

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, why are you so averse to meeting with the Unions on the matter of severance for the former employees of LIAT 1974 Ltd?

Prime Minister Browne, when and how have the workers of LIAT so offended you that you would do anything within your power to deprive them of their just claim for severance and other terminal benefits?

It is obscene and bewildering that as a Prime Minister and the representative of a constituency, you would have such disdain for workers. But it is because of people like you that the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union continues to exist.

Prime Minister Browne, you do not get to close the door on this LIAT matter! Rest assured that the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union will pursue this Administration and any other, and will use every option available to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement for the workers of LIAT.

It will not be your so-called “compassionate offer” or nothing! Why should the workers of LIAT go home nearly empty-handed, with only a fraction of their entitlements in cash, having been out of work for almost three years; with mounting mortgage payments, coupled with the skyrocketing cost of living, all of which you have in your power to resolve? How can this be right?

In keeping with your modus operandi, you have deluded yourself and your cronies into thinking that, somehow, your administration is the hero in this tragic mess that you’ve created. Since the demise of LIAT, the only thing your administration has done for the workers is prolong their suffering, deprive them of their dignity, and insult their intelligence.

It is NOT the case that the Union and the workers have been unreasonable with the Government. On the contrary, we have pleaded for dialogue on multiple occasions. But what has stalled any progress on this matter is the fact that severance – of any reasonable kind for the LIAT workers – has NEVER been a priority for the Gaston Browne Administration.

In addition to this, Mr. Prime Minister, you have spared no effort to keep the workers, the Union and the entire nation in the dark with regards to the administration of LIAT, which should have lasted only four months. It has been over two years to date! What will be the outcome of this administration process? The workers have been monitoring this process with bated breath.

Mr. Prime Minister, anyone with a good conscience must admit that it is morally correct and most natural for the Government to make every effort to achieve a reasonable settlement that involves respectful dialogue with the Union – the legal and lawful representative – and the workers of LIAT 1974 Ltd.

We are urging you again, Prime Minister Browne, to put aside all prejudice and prioritize the 600-plus workers and their families who have been severely disadvantaged by your administration’s uncaring actions.