Relations between a senior manager at LIAT, Desmond Brown and two executives of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union have hit an all time low with the airline threatening to take legal action against the two senior officials.
According to reports, General Secretary David Massiah and Industrial Relations Officer Clarence Crump had gone to query LIAT’s version of a story written earlier when the discussion apparently became loud and boisterous leading to claims that the airline official had felt “threatened and unsafe.”
The incident caused Human Resource Manager Ilean Ramsey to write to the two union officials that, “These acts caused reasonable apprehension of the affliction of the battery on Mr Brown by these senior executives.”
Crump has categorically denied using threats and insulting language to the LIAT manager. In fact, he told The Daily OBSERVER that when they arrived at the office they knocked on the door and were told to come in by Brown.
According to the industrial officer, Browne was first to be offensive when he said, ‘”Who you be, the police?’ We did not answer. Mr Massiah then said, ‘If you’re Mr Brown, what you have put in this is not the truth.’”
Crump said Browne responded by saying, “I don’t have to answer to none of you all.”
Crump further added that it was at that point that the human resources manager arrived and escorted them from the office.
“We didn’t get to any big hard talk and I said to him, ‘Mr Browne, you must know what to put in the paper and get both sides of it.’ He raised his voice, so we raised our voice.”
According to the missive, which has been copied to Chairman Jean Holder, Acting CEO Brian Challenger, CFO Julie Reifer Jones and Chairman of the Council of Trade Union Senator Chester Humphrey, the press statements and releases represent the views of management at all times and should not be regarded as his personal position.”
For the second day in a row staff at the airline continued their work stoppage over what they say is management’s transience in acceding to their request for a 3 percent annual pay increase.
Massiah has confirmed that the pay dispute that has driven the two-day strike is now in the hands of Labour Commissioner Hesketh Williams.
Workers have decided to return to work today pending the outcome of the mediation.