The Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU) has called on the Government of Dominica to follow St. Lucia’s move in assisting former employees of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.
The St. Lucia Government announced recently that it entered into an agreement with former employees of LIAT who were terminated due to the closure of the company in 2020 to settle long-standing termination payments to them.
The President of WAWU, Donald Rolle says it is the hope of the union to see a more direct involvement of the Dominica Government in the matter.
“It would be nice, I would encourage the Dominica Government to follow suite as the St. Lucia Government did,” Rolle said.
“That bold step taken by the St. Lucian Government speaks volume because it says to the rest of the shareholders that we [St. Lucia] value the service, the work delivered by the workers, and the importance at the time of LIAT as an airline serving the Caribbean and to now have the workers, through no fault of their’s having to beg. This thing is going on for two years now begging for what is rightfully theirs. It’s beyond me and I would like to see a more direct involvement from the Dominica Government in getting this matter resolved,” the WAWU President noted.
He told Dominica Vibes that it is a concern to the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union that “the longer the matter is unresolved, is the less or decreasing chances that the workers will not get their compensation.”
He also says WAWU has hopes of getting a seat at the discussion table to discuss the matter at hand, but that has not been forthcoming.
“All we are asking for as the group of unions representing the workers is to seat at the table, the opportunity to seat at the table to discuss the matter but we are not given that opportunity and so there’s a stalemate which we would want to have this resolved sooner than later,” said WAWU President.
“It’s a serious issue, lives are being affected directly and indirectly, the workers themselves and that of their families,” he explained. He said, “Monies are being owed to people that they need to get on with their lives and that is just not fair, it’s not just.”
The President further supported the efforts of the former LIAT workers to file a petition urging the shareholder governments to handle the situation.
The petition was launched on April 30th and over 15,000 people have already signed on with an intended target being 25,000 signatures.
“That is a very useful and important initiative,” he stated.
Rolle said he hopes that “enough signatures would come unto that petition to let the shareholders in particular know of the seriousness of this issue.”
“This is not an issue that affects one island, it has implications for LIAT moving forward. So it is an initiative that the WAWU has endorsed and we would want to see it given some form of respect in the sense that what is being mentioned in the petition is taken seriously by the shareholders, enough to at least re-engage the union with a view to bring this thing to an end,” the President of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union said.
The airline is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said previously that a decision had been taken that would allow Barbados and SVG to turn over their shares in LIAT to St John’s for one EC dollar.