Press Release

Union Chides Daven Joseph for Malicious Statements on Liat Severance Matter

Published On: Feb 03, 2024

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union is aware of certain comments made by Development Commissioner, Ambassador Daven Joseph, surrounding the ongoing LIAT Severance matter.

During a recent radio interview, Joseph falsely and maliciously accused the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union of politicizing the severance issue to the detriment of the former employees. The Ambassador further misled the audience by implying that the Union had been unwilling to dialogue with the Government about its “compassionate offer”.

Apart from having no basis in reality, Joseph’s comments are a poor attempt to deflect the criticism and disgrace that the Government and the Airline’s Administrator have invited upon themselves through their callous handling of the former workers’ terminal benefits.

Daven Joseph - Development Commissioner

As far back as May 2021, this Union has been making multiple attempts to engage the court-appointed administrator Mr. Cleveland Seaforth, via written communication. Moreover, we have reiterated the call for dialogue during the dozens of media engagements we have had on the matter over the past three years.

The records will show that it is the Government and the Administrator who have been unwilling to entertain any form of dialogue with the Union. Testament to this is the fact that the Administrator – as one of his initial actions – obtained a court order to suspend the workers’ right to collective bargaining, essentially shutting out the Union from the process. This is not only morally reprehensible; it is also bewildering to think that such a fundamental right could be withdrawn in a modern, democratic society.

Mr. Joseph’s involvement in this matter has been no different from the other parties mentioned except that he has been more deceitful by publicly pretending to be open to dialogue on behalf of the Government, while at the same time ignoring and even stifling any real opportunity for engagement with the Union. On one occasion, Mr. Joseph himself requested and received the contact details of the designated Union official under the pretense that there was a genuine willingness to dialogue. Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly there was no follow-up call.


Mr. Joseph’s other assertion - that the Union is playing politics with the workers’ severance - is again another poor attempt to deflect from the fact that it is the Government and the Administrator who have made achieving a fair severance settlement unnecessarily difficult. Mr. Joseph, we wish to make it abundantly clear to you that the former employees of LIAT 1974 Ltd understand very well that the unilateral (and ever-reducing) “compassionate offer” CANNOT be the only option for settlement, hence their overwhelming rejection of this offer. We can assure you that this is not politics at play; this is a vibrant and engaged workforce powerfully articulating their position through their Union despite the intimidation and threats.

Nevertheless, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union remains open to dialogue. We are not convinced that the positions of the Union and the Government are irreconcilable. Compromise can be reached at the negotiating table. There is common ground between our positions in that we both recognise that it is unjust for the workers to go home empty-handed! We use this opportunity to extend another invitation to dialogue with the aim of bringing closure and satisfaction to the former workers of LIAT 1974 Ltd.