An agreement by LIAT workers to accept half a million EC dollars has brought a temporary end to an 11-day industrial action at the Maurice Bishop International Airport.
At about 2pm on Thursday, following a ballot, workers agreed to accept the proposal of 500-thousand dollars as part of the monies owed them by the Company and to take the rest of the matter to arbitration.
The half a million dollars would be paid in tranches, of which the first tranche is expected to be paid by the middle of August and the last tranche by the end of November.
Senator Chester Humphrey Head of the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) representing LIAT workers in Grenada said though there has been an agreement to cease the industrial action, the war between the Union and LIAT is not over.
“There is a temporary cessation of hostilities, but the war has not come to an end and LIAT must understand that.”
“What has happened is that the battle has now been shifted to a different arena, but the battle continues.”
The Union Leader apologized to the public for the inconvenience caused and said the workers took the decision to cease industrial action because of concern for the travelling public who have been affected over the last 11-days.
“We are particularly concerned about the kids stranded in Barbados, we need to get them home and I’m saying this as a father and with a degree of compassion.”
However of the 500-thousand dollars, to be dispensed to the workers, the Grenada government has agreed to contribute 90-thousand as an ex-gratia payment agreed to during the negotiation process.
Labour Minister Glynis Roberts said the money will not be paid directly to the workers, but will be given to the company as a demonstration of the Grenada Government’s investment into the company.
“Now the 90-thousand dollars will be government’s contribution into LIAT. So we are not paying the workers directly but we giving it to LIAT as an investment in LIAT.”
Roberts said she recognizes LIAT as the biggest carrier for the island and believes that something should be done to encourage closer collaboration with the company.
“We have recognized that LIAT is our biggest carrier…….. at the end of the day carries must of our passengers into Grenada. So we have to take a proactive approach to LIAT.”
The end of the go-slow means that flights in and out of the island would be returning to normal within the next 24-hours.
LIAT has issued a statement announcing the end of the industrial and promising the return to normalcy by tomorrow morning and has promised to add flights where possible to cater for the carnival crowd.
“LIAT will resume full services to/from Grenada by Friday 5th August 2011…the airline will seek to add capacity to meet the demand for seats to Grenada which is about to commence its 2011 Carnival celebrations.”