WAWU challenges LIAT’s closure decision
President of the Water Front and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), Mr Kertist Augustus has said that there are several lessons that can be learnt from the ongoing battle between LIAT’s management and employees in the Caribbean.
His comments came following a decision by LIAT last month to close 9 city offices in the Caribbean; leaving close to 49 employees out of jobs.
The union, who is challenging the closure met with LIAT’s management team last week Tuesday in Antigua.
“Any management that is going to go the way of reducing the level of staff must do so after prolonged sustained discussion, they must incorporate the unions very early in terms of the plans that they have. If the consultations that take place between the parties are such that we agree, then there is no alternative, then the question of redundancy and the package for redundancy will be negotiated,” said Augustus.
Mr Augustus said that LIAT has agreed to recall a letter that was sent to the employees indicating that closure would be made by August 31st, 2010.
According to Mr Augustus, the union has found LIAT’s justification insufficient and is demanding further economic and other justifications for the closure.
“Such information would be furnished by the union in two weeks, following that the union will have two weeks to discuss the matter and meet with LIAT again to advance the discussions which would result in one of two things: either the company continue on the line that they are going to close or they review it,” explained Augustus.
The union stands ready to fight for what they call an ‘enhanced package’ for the employees, should the company provide them with valid justifications.
Augustus said that “if the reasons are justified we would have to do what we did in the FCIB case, and negotiate for an enhanced package, taking into consideration the sacrifices that workers have given in relation to the sustenance of LIAT in the Caribbean.”