Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), which is already under pressure from an immigration and customs go-slow, could be hit with more protest action next week.
This after pay talks broke down today between the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and management of the GAIA Inc., which employs some 400 airport workers.
As a result, the unionized employees have agreed to embark on protest action with immediate effect. However, one union official explained that because some of those workers would be off this weekend, the true effect of the action would only be felt from next Monday.
Sources say the airport’s management had initially offered an increase of 15 per cent, and that the NUPW had countered with a 16 per cent pay demand.
However, Cabinet has reportedly rejected both proposals, suggesting instead that the airport workers would receive whatever increase is eventually arrived at for the public service.
This news reportedly prompted a walk out by the NUPW’s delegation to today’s talks, with union officials accusing Government of treating the GAIA workers with disrespect.
The NUPW is equally adamant that the latest proposal will not work since GAIA employees operate under completely different terms to Central Government and therefore do not enjoy security of tenure.
When contacted, GAIA’s Corporate Communications Specialist Keith Goddard declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, the go-slow by immigration, customs and environmental health officers at both ports of entry is set to enter a second week on Saturday.
The action, which has been strongly condemned by Government officials and members of the business community, is aimed at forcing Government to reinstate NUPW President Akanni McDowall who was recently reverted from an acting senior position within the Ministry of Health to his substantive more junior post of Environmental Health Assistant 1.
It has so far resulted in lengthy delays for visitors to the island during what has traditionally been a busy period for tourism. The go-slow has also put a damper on this month’s 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations.