The unions, through the Regional Grouping of Trade Unions, have refused to attend a meeting in Antigua today to discuss the proposal.
In addition, the group, chaired by Senator Chester Humphrey, has put the management on notice that unions are not prepared to hold “any discussions on issues of mass termination of employees by reason of redundancy as an isolated matter.”
They have instead called for a Comprehensive Restructuring Plan to be put forward by the management of the 55-year-old company at least a month in advance of any meeting.
“Attending the proposed meeting in Antigua structured as it is in your letter, diminishes the role and co-equal status of our trade unions with management, and is inconsistent with building genuine partnership on the principles of genuine social dialogue,” Senator Humphrey stated in his letter to Ilean Ramsey, LIAT’s Director of Human Resources.
He went on to state, “The practice of convening meetings at short notice on a one-off basis and at which several unions have to depart before the meeting is concluded is no longer an acceptable way of treating trade unions within LIAT.”
The trade unionist, who heads the Grenada Technical & Allied Workers Union, said representatives of the ten-member regional grouping are willing to meet with shareholder governments and the board of directors to discuss the comprehensive restructuring plan for the airline.
He said this should include, “an objective assessment of management’s competencies, a regional integrated approach to inter-island air travel and the plans going forward, which may include staffing levels and an internal dispute mechanism which effectively handles and resolves industrial disputes in a timely manner.”
Airline CEO Brian Challenger has said he is proceeding with the planned meeting since the majority of individual trade unions have indicated that representatives would attend.