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Cabinet approves Air J, Carib Airlines deal

Details to be announced at press conference today

Wednesday, April 28, 2010    

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FINANCE Minister Audley Shaw announced yesterday that Cabinet has approved the terms of an agreement for the divestment of the operations of Air Jamaica to Caribbean Airlines, effective Friday, April 30.

The finance ministry, in a statement last night, said Minister Shaw; Chairman of Air Jamaica Dennis Lalor; and the airline's president Bruce Nobles will provide details of the divestment at a press conference in Kingston this afternoon.

Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Airlines Ian Brunton is expected to be in attendance at the press conference, the finance ministry said.

Shaw promised to make a detailed statement on the divestment of Air Jamaica in Parliament next Tuesday, May 4.

In the meantime, the National Workers Union (NWU), which represents Air Jamaica employees, complained yesterday that the airline's management was yet to provide a list of the workers expected to be employed by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines.

NWU President Vincent Morrison said there were also 'pressing matters' concerning the welfare of the workers which he would be raising when he meets with the labour minister, Pearnel Charles.

"I spoke with the minister and informed him that we need to have a meeting by Wednesday the latest," he said. According to the union boss, high on the list for discussions will be the employees' concerns about the non-payment of statutory deductions, the terms of employment with Caribbean Airlines, as well as a number of other related issues.

The union had complained workers who had retired from the airline, as well as those who opted for voluntary redundancy, still do not know how the sale would affect their pension and other benefits.

The NWU had also questioned whether outstanding statutory deductions would be paid before Air Jamaica employees receive their redundancy letters.

"It is just a few days to go before Caribbean Airlines takes over, and at this stage all of these things should have been settled," Morrison said yesterday.

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