ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Minister responsible for labour matters, Dr Errol Cort has commended the country’s unions for demonstrating responsibility and reasonableness in their demands in the face of the country’s economic challenges.
The labour minister noted that despite industrial action by workers at “few” institutions, “all in all” the relationship between workers (their unions) and employers as well as the Labour Department has been “going reasonably well.”
“Notwithstanding the global economic challenges; notwithstanding the regional challenges, I want to commend all the unions in this country for demonstrating a sense of responsibility in their negotiations; in their demands and in their understanding in respect of the economic climate in which we operate,” Dr Cort said.
Referencing one entity that stood out for its willingness to negotiate, the minister said LIAT management and workers must be commended.
“I look forward to an amicable resolution in respect to those LIAT negotiations. LIAT is a Caribbean institution and we all need to ensure the long-term survival of that vital institution in the Caribbean. In addition to that, LIAT employs hundreds of Antiguans and Barbudans and we need to protect those jobs here in Antigua & Barbuda. We also recognise that LIAT must run and run as an efficient organisation,” the minister added.
He said he is confident that the unions currently negotiating with management equally recognise that particular situation, since they have demonstrated willingness to work with management to ensure the profitability of the airline.
Negotiations are ongoing in relation to 25 workers in the Cargo and Quikpak Department who were given notice of their redundancy a month ago.
The workers remain on the job as Dr Cort mediates the dispute with regional unions and LIAT management.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)