Press Release
March 28, 2024

AIA knocks PSU for hasty strike threat

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union (PSU), has put the management of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on notice that industrial action is imminent if retroactive payments are not settled within the next two weeks.

The union has been raising the issue with AIA management for some time following the move from the E.T Joshua Airport to the AIA, noting that staff had not received salary increases since operations at AIA began in 2017.

In a press release, the PSU explained that the union met with aggrieved members on Friday March 22, 2024, in regards to the outstanding retroactive component of the increment for 2019.

The increment, which amounted to 1.5 per cent was paid in January, 2023 and the union said it was expected that the retroactive component for the years 2019,2020,2021, and 2022 will be paid.

“If the outstanding payments are not settled by April 12, 2024 the PSU will initiate industrial action against the AIA on a Monday or Wednesday on a date of our choosing. This action will continue until this grievously outstanding matter is settled.”

The PSU said that numerous letters were sent to the airport’s management, in addition to holding numerous meetings over a period of four years, from as far back as October 29, 2020.

However, a letter obtained by SEARCHLIGHT sent from the AIA to the PSU and dated February 16, 2024, said the airport’s management had honoured its agreement with the union “by implementing a 1.5 percent increment for all staff, and an additional 1.5 increment on

salaries for all applicable staff with employment commencing between 2016 and 2018”.

The letter also said that the 1.5 increment to staff who were employed between 2016 and 2018 is effective from January 2023, and not retroactive from 2016 through 2018 or any part of.

“This increment aligns with the terms outlined in the collective agreement …and please be reminded that in accordance with the 2020 revised employee manual, increment increases are contingent upon the financial standing of our organization”.

Following the strike threat by the PSU, the AIA responded on March 27 saying they are “surprised by the union’s unorthodox approach” to industrial action, adding that the union had not given the airport’s management the courtesy of acknowledging the February 16 letter.

“The union’s apparent haste to resort to industrial action…without engaging in the process of healthy dialogue and discussion is of even greater concern,” the March 27 letter the from the AIA officer-in-charge, Josette Greaves states.

The AIA management also took issue with the union’s warning for strike action to be taken “on a Monday or a Wednesday on a date of your choosing” as these days are known to be most active days for the airport.

Management has extended an invitation to the PSU to a meeting to discuss the contents of the February 16 letter with April 17, 19 or 25 dates being proposed in light of upcoming PSU general elections which are to be held on April 23 and 24.