GABATCO heads back to negotiating table today

Guild of Antigua & Barbuda Air Traffic Controllers
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GABATCO heads back to negotiating table today

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Jan 06, 2009 ... 9&ac=Local

GABATCO heads back to negotiating table today
Sunday January 04 2009
by Afeefah Beharry

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and several other government officials are scheduled to meet with the Guild of Antigua and Barbuda Air Traffic Controllers (GABATCO) today to sort out several outstanding issues. The meeting will take place at 1 p.m.

This meeting comes a few days after a number of high-ranking officials including Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Harold Lovell met with the air traffic controllers in an effort to iron out a number of burning matters. That meeting was apparently not enough to satisfy the workers who are reportedly still upset that their matters are not being dealt with in a timely manner.

Operations at the VC Bird International Airport were reportedly in a state of chaos on Saturday due to the flow- control system, which was implemented by air traffic controllers.

GABATCO is maintaining that it did not take any industrial action.

“There was no industrial action at all yesterday,” Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GABATCO, Wesley Joseph told the Antigua Sun. “It was just the same flow control restrictions. Yesterday (Saturday) was pretty busy and when it’s like that air traffic has to step up and put things in place because it can get pretty chaotic.”

According to Joseph, the air traffic controllers are lobbying the government for an increase in their salaries, uniform allowances, duty-free concessions, and a new contract.

Joseph, meanwhile, said the flow control restriction has not been withdrawn and stressed that this measure should not be equated with negotiations between them and the government. “It’s just a coincidence that it is happening at this time but the flow control restriction is separate from what is happening between us and government,” Joseph said.

While the system was introduced to better control aircraft traffic at a usually busy period, it has caused significant delays and some airlines have reported losing significant sums of money as a result.

Several issues were reportedly placed on the table at the last meeting and government was waiting to hear from GABATCO as to whether or not certain initiatives taken had met with its approval or what might be done to produce a mutually beneficial arrangement for both teams at the negotiating table.

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