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Barbados air and sea ports hit by strike action

Operations at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) are at a standstill and work at the Bridgetown Port has been disrupted as a result of industrial action being taken by workers in solidarity with striking Barbados Water Authority (BWA) employees.

Flights into and out of the country have been put on hold, as workers in the air traffic control tower, who direct all flights entering and leaving the country, take strike action.

Hundreds of departing passengers have been left stranded. Members of Barbados’ CARIFTA team, who was due to fly to Grenada today, are among those waiting for word on when their flights will be able to leave.

Regional airline LIAT this morning issued an advisory, indicating that all its flights have been delayed due to the closure of the airport.

“LIAT also regrets to advise that passengers who decide to travel but are unable to complete their journey will not be provided with meals, transportation or hotel accommodation as the situation is beyond LIAT’s control. Passengers with onward connections are advised to contact the respective carriers,” it stated.

Over at the Bridgetown Port, unionized workers are also taking action.

The air and sea port employees are showing their support for BWA workers who have been on strike for almost a week as they demand payment of BDS$33 million (US$16.5 million) in increments dating back to 2006.

Yesterday, the workers’ representative, the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), warned that pressure on the BWA would increase.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has blamed the escalation of action on “the callous attitude to and the contempt of this Government for ordinary workers”.

“The Government believes that they can put the workers’ concerns on a lay way plan to be dealt with either when Government gets around to it or when the workers are forced to bring the country to its knees to get the Government’s attention,” she said in a statement.

“The BWA must engage its workers with respect as their claim is legitimate, even if daunting. I trust, however, that the BWU will not be unreasonable in their immediate demands.”

She called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to get a clear commitment from the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Water Resources Management to provide the necessary funds that could lead to an urgent settlement of the impasse.

The BWA strike comes as the communities in the north and the east of the island experience water woes.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

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