Union against LIAT cuts
The National Workers Union (NWU) in St Lucia today warned the regional airline, LIAT, that it would not support plans to shut down the city office of the airline placing workers on the breadline.
NWU president Tyrone Maynard said there was “no justification” for closing the office there, as had been done in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
He told reporters that the operations had been profitable.
“After making all of these sacrifices over the years, we are not prepared to just give up the jobs of workers who have worked hard and have contributed profitable returns to the company.
“We should be talking about job security as this time as we have enough problems in the region, crime wise, unemployment, for us to be putting more people on the breadline, our position is no,” he said, warning “if we have to shut down LIAT in St Lucia to make our point, we will do it”.
LIAT is planning to lay off some 100 of its 900 workers across the Caribbean after it said it would register an EC$15 million (US$5.5 million) loss on its operations last year after registering a net profit of EC$8.9 million (US$3.2 million) the previous year.
LIAT, which serves 22 destinations in the Caribbean, last year carried 1.3 million passengers as compared to 1.4 the previous year. The airline also made fewer departures, with the figure for 2010 being 46,597 as compared with 49,127 in 2009.
Earlier this week, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, said LIAT could save three million US) dollars annually if it closes the city offices in a number of Caribbean destinations.
He said that at least 40 workers would be affected by the closure.