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Portia wants more info on Air Jamaica closure

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

OPPOSITION LEADER Portia Simpson Miller has urged Prime Minister Bruce Golding to speak directly with Air Jamaica workers, who she claims are unsure about their future when the national airline closes on Friday.

In a statement released Monday, Simpson Miller said there was considerable confusion in the minds of many Air Jamaica workers. She also said the manner in which the closure of airline is being under-taken amounted to an absence of compassion.

"Apart from published reports in the media of an April 30 takeover date, there have been no clear indications from the Government regarding the arrangements being made for the airline," Simpson Miller said Monday.

Government has announced that it would be closing the loss-making airline at the end of the month. It has set aside $22 billion in the Budget to deal with the divestment of the 'Lovebird'.

But information regarding the deal being struck with the Jamaican Government and the Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines has not been forthcoming.

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According to Simpson Miller, while reports in the media have kept Jamaica abreast of some elements of the disposal, "It is shameful that many of the Air Jamaica workers, many of whom have dedicated their lives to the service of the airline, have had to learn the details of their fate through the media."

On Monday, the National Workers Union (NWU) wrote to Labour Minister Pearnel Charles seeking his intervention in the row between Air Jamaica's management and staff.

Vincent Morrison, the NWU president, said investigations by the union have revealed that the separation agreements relating to the workers have not yet been resolved.

"The present impasse between the unions and the company is not good for industrial relations, and we do not want the interests and the rights of the workers to go unprotected at this time," Morrison's letter to Charles said.