Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been urged to use her influence to find a resolution for the scores of Barbadian former LIAT employees who have yet to receive severance more than two years after being laid off.
The call came today from one of the distraught former workers, who, while speaking on popular radio call in programme Down to Brasstacks, said he and his colleagues were at their wits’ ends and in desperate need of help.
He said Mottley, who was recently named as one of the 100 most influential people of 2022 by Times magazine, should be able to use her position to negotiate a deal for the former LIAT pilots and other staff members.
The frustrated caller queried why the St Lucia government, which is not a shareholder of LIAT, had offered to pay out some of its workers and Barbados had not done the same.
However, when asked to respond to the concerns raised by the former workers today, Mottley said she would prefer to first hear what issues were raised.
The Prime Minister did indicate that she had been in discussions with Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne on possibly finding a solution.
“I haven’t heard the programme and you’re now talking to me about it in the middle of this exercise so the first thing I will do is just as I ask people to do and that is go out and measure and monitor. I need to know what they said and I need to see what the issues are.
“I’ve been talking to Gaston [Browne] as well. Last week in Guyana we talked about how we can use LIAT in a more effective way as well for cargo. We have also recognized that there are outstanding issues and we’ve said to him that we need to meet. I don’t know what was said today so I don’t know how to respond other than that,” Mottley responded.
More than 500 workers of LIAT (1974) Ltd were temporarily laid off on April 1, 2020, including around 55 from Barbados.
To date, they have received no severance nor outstanding monies, which include vacation pay and retroactive pay owed to them by LIAT.
It has been estimated that former Barbadian workers are owed in the region of $13 million EC dollars ($9.7 million) by LIAT.
In May last year, Government provided a one-off gift of 2000 to just under 100 displaced Barbadian Liat workers.
Additionally, the workers received an advance of $2,000 per month for a year to be paid back at a future date from any eventual severance settlement.
SOURCE: BARBADOS TODAY