50 years ago: BWIA staff threaten strike

This week in Cayman

In the Jan. 11, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story about a potential upcoming strike by airline workers appeared on the front page.

“Workers employed by BWIA here will go on strike on January 18th, unless certain demands by them are met.

“Having heard it rumoured that the staff of BWIA in Grand Cayman are intending to go on strike on Jan. 18, our reporter checked with Mr. T.P. Adam, Station Superintendent, with regard to this.

“Mr. Adam disclosed that certain demands from the staff had been passed to the management of the airline through him and he understood that if these were not met, the staff would be forced to take further action.

“It appears that the staff are dissatisfied with working conditions in general, but are particularly concerned that their salaries are not keeping pace with the continual rise in the cost of living, especially in respect of the big jump consequent upon devaluation of the pound sterling.

“A member of staff indicated that about two weeks before devaluation, the Station Superintendent was approached and a rise of 25 percent for all members of staff was requested due to the high cost of living. This was relayed to the headquarters in Trinidad but, unfortunately, before this had hardly had time to be considered, the pound was devalued.

“The request was then made for an additional 15 percent, making a total raise of 40 percent. A reply was received, stating that the matter was being considered, but the staff feel that it is impossible for them to live on the present low salaries which are being paid.

“Just recently, LACSA and CBA airlines have raised the salaries of all their staff, and employees in most of the offices and stores in town have also been compensated for the high cost of living. After some agitation, port workers and day workers employed by government were also given a substantial raise, so the demands of BWIA staff cannot be considered unreasonable in the circumstances.”

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