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(Nation of Barbados) Barbados LIAT workers who last week appealed to Prime Minister Mia Mottley through the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, will receive a one-time gift of Bds$2,000 and a plan is in place for them to receive long-term support.

It was announced via a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and he followed 90-minute Zoom chats with dozens of former regional airline workers who have been on the breadline for over a year.

The government will provide a Bds$2,000 ‘gift’ by Friday or early next week and their case will also go to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Tribunal.

“All former Barbadian LIAT employees who were based here, paid into the local National Insurance scheme and are therefore entitled to severance pay will now have expedited hearings by the NIS court,” the statement said.

“Those hearings are also expected to begin as early as next week, with the expectation that they will be concluded in time for payments to be made shortly after the end of the month.”

Workers who did not pay NIS contributions will also receive assistance, but this must be repaid.

The parties are to meet again in 100 days.

Last week, some of LIAT’s former employees wept as they recounted the hardships they had endured since losing their jobs at the airline with no severance pay, no severance pay, and some unpaid wages. The meeting was facilitated by the Leader of the Opposition’s officer, Bishop Joseph Atherley.

Here is the full statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on today’s discussions with displaced Barbadian LIAT workers:

The government has offered a helping hand to just under 100 displaced Barbadian LIAT workers, who will receive aid by early next week.

During an hour-and-a-half Zoom meeting with dozens of ex-employees who have been waiting for more than a year for rights from the regional airline, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley promised each person would receive a gift Bds$2,000 by Friday – or early next week, at the latest.

This grant, which will be provided by the central government, will give the authorities time to put in place other measures that would provide additional relief over a much longer period.

All former Barbados LIAT employees who were based here, paid into the local National Insurance Scheme and are therefore entitled to severance pay will now benefit from expedited hearings by the NIS Tribunal.

It is expected that these hearings will also begin as soon as next week, with the hope that they will be completed in time for payments to be made just after the end of the month.

Prime Minister Mottley explained that it had become necessary for the cases of these workers to be brought before the Tribunal since LIAT’s receiver in Antigua, Cleveland Seaforth, had so far not signed and delivered to Barbados. the documents that would have automatically triggered the severance package. Payments.

The other significant group of LIAT workers receiving assistance are Barbadians based primarily in Antigua, whose wages have been deducted under that country’s social security system and who are entitled to severance pay in under the laws of this country.

Arrangements are currently being put in place for them to receive an advance of $2,000 per month from the Government of Barbados, to be repaid at a later date from any severance pay settlements.

Prime Minister Mottley explained that this would be for a maximum of one year, to end earlier if they are able to find another job before the end of this year.

Mottley stressed that she understands $2,000 a month won’t match their salaries or erase the debt and hardship they’ve accumulated since they stopped working, but she was trying to help them. while balancing them with all the other pressing needs of Barbadians.

Faced with a direct request from employees who recounted their disputes with banks and other creditors, the Prime Minister promised to reach out to the sector on their behalf to request payment facilities.

The workers agreed to the immediate formation of a small working committee to liaise with the government to ensure that all information needed to deliver the promised assistance is available to the relevant agencies, and the former LIAT workers will meet the Prime Minister again in 100 days. .

National Union of Public Workers President Akanni McDowald and Acting General Secretary Wayne Walrond thanked the Prime Minister for the support offered to workers by the Government of Barbados.