Resolution close for GAIA workers

A resolution to the problems of inadequate staffing, outstanding pay and poor work conditions for air traffic controllers at the Grantley Adams International Airport appears to be on the horizon.

That indication came today from Acting Assistant General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Dwaine Paul following a meeting chaired by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy and involving representatives of the Personnel Administration Department, the Ministry of the Civil Service and the management of the Civil Aviation Department.

“The BWU is pleased with the progress made during the meeting as we were given timelines in terms of having some of the matters which are long outstanding addressed, as well as assurances relating to matters of staffing, which is also one of the critical areas which have been outstanding for some time,” he told Barbados TODAY.

He also reported that most of the immediate issues regarding the air traffic tower had been resolved.

Paul said the only outstanding issue was providing window shades to reduce glare and that was being worked on.

“On the matter of staffing, we have commitments to have those matters addressed. The process should actually get started next week. The Minister has also given us the commitment of seeking to address the matter of outstanding payments,” he said.

Asked if the air traffic controllers, most of whom are represented by the BWU, would have their outstanding monies by Christmas, Paul replied: “We can say that we anticipate that air traffic controllers should have some of their outstanding money by the holidays.”

As far as staffing was concerned, he said that would not be totally resolved for a few years because of the length of time it took to train an air traffic controller.

“That is the reason we have been very insistent on having this matter addressed. We have a situation where controllers would be retiring or scheduled to retire within the next couple of years. So what we don’t want to have is a situation where air traffic controllers are going out of the system and we do not have controllers in the [training] school, either at the stage of readiness or close to a stage of readiness to take over in the tower,” the BWU official said.

Paul said a commitment had been given that people would be sourced to fill vacancies and that process would start next week.

A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for December 15. That will be chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Transport Irvin Best. 

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