Submitted by Fair and Balanced
As the saga of LIAT’ troubled life plays out once again in the BDO led administration there has been little or no press campaign by the unions that represent workers across the region.
Outside of The Water Front Allied Workers Union and LIALPA, the other LIAT employee unions have not been heard over the last nine month period. Most notably is David Massiah who is not only the leader of one of the biggest unions in Antigua, the epicentre of the LIAT debacle, but he is also the head of a combined group of some 16 LIAT unions across the region. He has been very quiet only making one or two appearances months ago. It is true that the smaller unions have never said much in the past but how can they continue to be quiet during this period? This is not business as usual in the LIAT network there are about 500 employees on the breadline this Christmas Season without an iota of severance. So why the strategic quietness? Is it the fear of the PM Browne on his Saturday afternoon radio show attacks ? Is it that they see no advantage in constantly speaking out about the process? Truth be told they have no say in the process. Is it that they are dumbstruck by the situation, they are too scared to speak ?
It is true that history suggest that liquidations are time consuming processes that only benefit the liquidator and there are plenty examples of these in the region, affected employees draw the short and dirty end of the stick more often than not and in LIAT’s case where the liabilities far out weigh the assets, this stick will be a log.
Why should the workers suffer for poor inefficient management which still continues today in LIAT?
Why should the workers suffer from egotistical politicians in the region ?
In converse is it realistic and reasonable to ask for severance from governments who are broke and fighting a pandemic at the same in the shortest possible time ?
Is it a fair comparison that if the Antigua & Barbuda Government flies a schedule as the amendment to the Company’s act which allows it , that workers should be paid first ?
Is that placing the cart before the horse ?
The process of Administration is new and untested and could not have a worse guinea pig that LIAT, a company which has been horribly run, politically interfered with over the years and not to the benefit of the travelling public or the employees.
The four governments who own LIAT would cry foul at private owners of Companies in their respective territories if they did half the things that were done to workers in LIAT. Shameful!
The administration process needs to be more transparent if we are to have faith that this will be a new method to keep state owned or statutory even private companies afloat. If public funds are going to be used to assist in floating the SS LIAT again shouldn’t the public not know?
If workers are going to lose any money due to them in this untested process , shouldn’t they know why?
The unions in LIAT should speak with one voice, tell the public the truth, the facts, it should not be emotional or filed with wild exaggerations and hyperbole or salacious statements.
The use of the press is a 50/50 calculation but at this point what do you have to lose?