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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: Operations at Trinidad and Tobago’s national airline, BWIA, were almost brought to a halt on Saturday with a large number of employees calling in sick.

The action is said to be part of a protest strategy aimed at forcing the airline’s management to settle outstanding wage negotiations. Hundreds of workers are now threatening to step up their action saying they are not prepared to wait any longer for an agreed compensation package. Over the weekend, officials of BWIA had to hire Service Air to deal with transportation of passengers, which union officials claimed was illegal and contrary to the collective bargaining process. When contacted, officials of the union that represents over five hundred employees denied instructing its membership to engage in a protest. They said, however, they were not ruling out massive industrial action if matters relating to worker compensation are not settled soon.

Caribbean Net News understands that hundreds of workers could be sent home before the end of the year as government embarks on a restructuring plan it says will contribute towards saving the cash-strapped state enterprise, which has been losing millions of dollars over the years.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, says the plan is eventually to transform BWIA into a regional air carrier in which regional governments and the private sector would be able to purchase equity participation.

Source: [Caribbean Net News]

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