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Financial News

Jan 2006 Financial News

BWIA restructuring begins

Jan 06, 2006

THE long-awaited restructuring process at the national airline BWIA got underway recently with management and union leaders negotiating a series of proposals aimed at transforming the troubled carrier.

"We have commenced discussions with the unions, to negotiate the new proposals. There are four recognised bodies that represent the workers and we will be meeting again with them next week," Arthur Lok Jack, chairman of the new board of directors of BWIA, told the Daily Express yesterday.

The continuation of the meetings between BWIA and the Aviation, Communication and Allied Workers Union (ACAWU), the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots Association (TALPA), and the Superintendents Association and Communication, Transport and General Workers Union (CATTU) will take place on Monday.

Lok Jack said that the negotiation of the new proposals is required in the restructuring process of the company.

"We are hoping to totally restructure BWIA and transform the organisation into what it should look like, so we cannot do business as usual," he added.

ACAWU president Curtis John, "We got the new proposals before Christmas and have met with our members to review the provisions of these proposals and intend to meet with BWIA management next week."

John stopped short of providing details regarding the exact contents of the new proposals.

However, he said that his membership rejected the proposals and announced that the union will be working on a counter proposal after it meets with "all players in the game."

An aviation source, however said that the new proposals include reduced sick leave and vacation days, no overtime for working on public holidays, no travel benefits, no medical plan and a one per cent increase in salaries.

In a press release issued yesterday, Dionne Ligoure, manager corporate communications, BWIA said, "At the meetings (with the unions) the chairman provided an overview of the new mandate from the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT), which stipulated among other things that the GORTT would inject US$250 million in equity in either a restructured BWIA or a new entity provided that certain conditions were met including changes in the work rules and cultural transformation."

"These changes are deemed necessary to facilitate operational efficiencies, increased productivity and provide a safe, reliable and customer driven service," said the BWIA press release.

Driselle Ramjohn
The Trinidad Express
Friday, 6th January, 2006.
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_business?id=126648875