Home » PM issues ultimatum: No more bilateral talks with ABWU

PM issues ultimatum: No more bilateral talks with ABWU

by pointe team
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Prime Minister Gaston Browne is taking a tough stance against the Antigua and

Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) over the union’s intransigence over the LIAT


PM Browne told parliament that the union has spurned his government’s many

attempts to offer what he termed ‘compassionate settlement’ of the outstanding

monies owed to the workers, only to have the union encouraging the workers to

reject the offer.

The prime minister also took issue with the union’s continued assertions that the

Antigua and Barbuda government owes the airline staff one hundred percent of the

outstanding amounts, even though the government only owned thirty-two percent

of the shares.

Against this background, PM Browne said there will be no more bilateral talks

between his government and the union on the LIAT matter.

“I want to say to the ABWU that if we (the Antigua and Barbuda government)

have any such liability to the LIAT workers then take us to court. I also want to

state, that we are not having any further bilateral engagements with the ABWU. If

they want to engage us, get all four shareholder governments together and let us

decide on the way forward,” he declared.

The Antigua and Barbuda leader said some of the issues that eventually led to the

demise of LIAT, was what he termed the ‘sick culture’ that was cultivated at the

airline over the years, where staff members would routinely call in sick. He pointed

a finger at the unions in the region that helped foster that culture, primarily the


“So we have come full-circle, COVID-19 came, and decimated the airline. Two of

our colleagues, representing more than fifty percent of the shares decided to wind

up the airline. The government of Antigua and Barbuda decided to step in, and

became Hercules overnight, decided we will carry the airline alone, incidentally it

is still flying today, and we are still standing alone, but instead of getting credit we

have been berated by our political opponents and even the staff at LIAT,” he



“We have explained to them ad nauseam, that the government does not owe the

workers. The offer was a compassionate payment representing 50 percent of the

amount. Yet still, up to recently, the ABWU is making the claim that we have

advantaged workers,” he explained.

The government has offered to settle a portion of the amount with a proposal of

part cash payments and lands…but the ABWU and the workers have said no,

opting instead to demand the full payment of one hundred percent of outstanding


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