ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The union representing a wide cross section of LIAT staff has hinted at possible job cuts as a direct result of the airline’s decision to drop certain routes from its itinerary, and has called for dialogue prior.
General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah said while the company has not given the union that indication, it is bracing for any eventuality.
“As trade unions, we know that any sort of reduction in operations would, most often, come down to staff cuts. We have agreed that any impact to employees must be discussed with us well in advance of the time, to help us to understand decisions going forward,” Massiah said.
The regional carrier, announced last week, it would be cutting its services to the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) “as part of its efforts to achieve greater profitability and improve efficiency”.
In a statement, the airline said it would cease servicing the USVI from March 1, when it ends flights to St Croix. Service to St Thomas will end on June 14.
LIAT also said it would be suspending flights between the French island of Guadeloupe and Dominica, and would introduce instead a return service between Antigua and Guadeloupe.
The matter was one of the main agenda items at a meeting on Friday between the management of LIAT and regional trade unions.
The unions are concerned about the management structure and the dwindling market share of the Antigua-based carrier.
Massiah said the talks also surrounded other outstanding matters between the union and LIAT’s management.
“LIAT has given the undertaking that it will seek to conclude these matters in a short space of time. We are hoping that within the next three months all of this will be concluded, so that these collective agreements could be signed off on,” the union boss said