Entertainers urged to lend voices to former LIAT staff’s fight for severance

A former LIAT pilot is pleading with entertainers in Barbados and the rest of the region to raise their voices in support of the call for the airline’s shareholder governments to give ex-workers their severance and other payments outstanding for more than two years.

The former employee, who wished to be identified only as Linda, said she wanted regional artistes who depended heavily on the island-hopping carrier to travel around the region, to “jump on board” and support the workers who helped to “take care of them” over the years.

“We served them for many years [as] they travelled the region and encountered our ground staff, flight attendants, pilots, and engineers. We would like them to jump on board and support our cause,” she appealed.

“I think that they should use their voice to try and get a settlement for the employees.”

The pilot who said she gave 19 years of service to the airline, was speaking with members of the media on Tuesday, just outside Parliament where she had just joined other former workers in delivering a petition to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, in care of the Clerk of Parliament.

Her comments also came on the heels of concern raised by at least two regional entertainers about the hassle of travelling throughout the region now that the restructured LIAT has limited its service.

St Vincent and the Grenadines entertainer Skinny Fabulous, in an open letter to LIAT that he shared on his Instagram page last Wednesday, publicly apologised to the airline for taking its service for granted.

“We bullied you and called you names . . . . We were mean and unappreciative for we knew not what the future held for us . . . If no one else is humble enough to say it, I’m saying it now. I was ungrateful and I am sorry,” wrote the soca artiste whose given name is Gamal Doyle.

He added that although people in the region often complained about the airline’s schedule, there were days now they were unable to get to certain islands.

Doyle said he missed being able to get to St Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, St Kitts, and other places “with multiple options and at reasonable cost”.

The musician pleaded for a return to LIAT’s previous schedule, adding that the region not only missed the Antigua-based airline but needed it.

Barbadian international recording artiste and producer Adam King Bubba Elias has also been raising concerns about the difficulty and cost of travelling around the Caribbean without LIAT’s usual service.

Linda said views like those expressed by the two entertainers should give Barbados and other LIAT shareholder governments an appreciation for the former workers who are still awaiting severance pay.

LIAT was restructured in mid-2020, at which time hundreds of workers were laid off.

The former workers are still fighting for not only severance payments but other compensation as well, including vacation pay, notice pay, final salary, and pension payments.

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