Defiant PSA president Watson Duke says no court order can prevent Air Traffic Controllers for falling ill in the future.
Duke said that during yesterday?s news conference at the union?s Abercromby Street office following a meeting with the workers.
Labour Minister, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, obtained a court injunction against 62 workers which effectively prevents them from embarking on ?sick-out? action.
Duke said Baptiste-Primus ?must be prepared for a long, hot summer. Be prepared because the rights of these Air Traffic Controllers will not be subverted by any court injunction.?
He said the Air Traffic Controllers were ?entitled to live and to die, to be well and to be sick and they will exercise their right to be sick at any time.?
Duke stressed: ?We are not going to be coerced , compelled (and) we?ll not be bullied by any court .?
He said the 62 workers will be represented individually by 62 attorneys when the matter is heard in the Industrial Court later this month.
?And so right now we are assembling the largest legal team in the history of T&T . For each of these 62 workers who have been injuncted we have a (legal) representative. So we are talking 62 lawyers representing these 62 workers individually,? Duke told reporters.
He maintained that the workers can suffer from stress as they have to supervise over 10,000 flights on a monthly basis.
Duke said it appeared as though Baptiste-Primus and the Head of Corporate Communications at the Civil Aviation Authority, Mohammed Ali ? and the judges, who adjudicated on this matter, would have curiously conspired to outlaw sickness for Civil Aviation (workers).?
Duke insisted it was not any form of industrial action by the workers.
He said the PSA was not engaged in any negotiations for a new collective agreement for employees of Civil Aviation.
© Luis Oberto
© Luis Oberto Anselmi
He also denied claims that the Air Traffic controllers had demanded a 14 per cent increase in salary.
He said the PSA has been the majority recognised union for the workers since the Civil Aviation Authority was established in 1965.
He said several letters have been sent over the years to the authority requesting a meeting to discuss workers? concerns but Duke said on December 18, 2015, the authority responded by letter , indicating that it cannot meet with the PSA until the union presented a certificate of recognition to represent the workers.