ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, June 16, 2011 –LIAT’s management has expressed disappointment at recent articles in the media relating to the position of LIAT’s union bodies on the Company’s plans for closure of its City Ticketing Offices CTOs.
Mr. Desmond Brown, LIAT’s Corporate Communications Manager indicated that the Company had made known its intention to close the offices for 18 months. He pointed out that several meetings had been held since then, with the Company and unions eventually reaching agreement on a broad set of arrangements. These included a voluntary separation (VSEP) and early retirement proposal agreed to by the Company, intended to cushion, where possible, redundancy affecting CTO employees within the context of the Company’s restructuring process.
Brown noted that the Company’s VSEP programme provided an enhanced separation package to what would have been normally available in most instances of separation or retirement. He added that reports in the press suggested that the unions were now highlighting the need for three months notice as a requirement for settling with the Company.
“Against the background of the long process of dialogue and reaching consensus on the basic parameters of an agreement, especially those elements having direct financial costs, it is unfortunate that the unions should be introducing new conditions at this late stage of the process. Given present regional and international economic realities very few regional companies, and certainly none in the travel and tourism industries, would likely be in a position to agree to the unions latest demands which are estimated to cost in excess of EC$250,000,” the Corporate Communications Manager indicated.
Brown pointed out that in view of measures proposed by the Company, including the intended strengthening of sales outlets at airports, as well as the earlier areas of agreement reached by the unions and the Company, it seemed likely that the number of displaced CTO employees would be relatively small.
“LIAT has strived to be a responsible social partner in this extensive negotiating process with our unions. We therefore hope, and are quietly confident, that the process will be resolved quickly. We have received a robust response to our VSEP programme which is not surprising since it is an enhanced programme and has
provided an opportunity for those persons who may want to leave the Company for whatever reason to do so,” Brown noted.
Brown pointed out that in line with all other airlines, the Company was moving towards a different model of lower cost sales and distribution which highlighted both face-to-face and electronic contact.
He said that in most of the territories LIAT has never had CTOs so that the change in the six territories was unlikely to be dramatic to LIAT’s customers. He noted that the airline was also working to ensure available alternative options for its customers reflecting today’s changes in technology and lifestyles.
LIAT, the Caribbean’s principal inter-island carrier, presently operates into more than 20 destinations linking English, French, Dutch and Spanish-speaking communities. The Company celebrates 55 continuous years of operation in October 2011.
LIAT is one of the leading Caribbean airlines. It is owned by regional shareholders, with major shareholders being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. More information about LIAT may be found at www.liat.com .
Desmond Brown, Corporate Communications Manager, LIAT (1974) LTD, Head Office, Coolidge Business Complex, Sir George Walter Highway, Antigua. Telephone: +268 480 6222, fax: +268 480 5638 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org .