ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The industrial dispute involving LIAT workers in Grenada is expected to worsen according to the head of the Technical Allied Workers Union (TAWU).
TAWU President Chester Humphrey said workers will intensify their protest action after LIAT reneged on many of the agreements it formally had with the workers.
“The situation is far from improving — it is getting worse because LIAT has reversed all the agreements they have made in respect of the extended one hour overtime,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said agreements had been reached with LIAT and the airline was meant to draw up a payment plan but failed to do so for three deadlines before denying that it had agreed to the claims.
“So that as far as LIAT is concerned, it owed nothing and is asking that the matter be sent before a court,” Humphrey said.
“This action by LIAT management is provocative. Coming out of an emergency meeting of senior union officers and with the shop stewards we have decided to intensify the industrial action and we anticipate that there will be a further reduction of flights into Grenada.”
The union leader said they had already begun seeking support from regional affiliates and could soon call other associated workers into action.
“We have begun the process of calling on our regional affiliates to render the necessary solidarity support so one can anticipate a deteriorating situation in respect of air links into Grenada via LIAT,” Humphrey said.
Grenada’s carnival enters full swing next week and the workers have come under criticism for negatively impacting the festival but Humphrey said the workers should not be blamed.
“It would be unfair to blame the employees, it’s not something we want to do but it’s something we have to do … there has got to be an overhaul of LIAT’s management if this airline at all is to survive.”
LIAT, which has been forced to either cancel or re-schedule flights into the Spice Isle, said that the dispute surrounds a claim by the union that the company owes the workers EC $6 million (US $2.2 million) in overtime payments dating back to 1983.