Home > LIAT responds to LIALPA’s latest pronouncements
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, June 14, 2010 – LIAT’s Management has noted with disappointment recent pronouncements by the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) that pilots have been left with no other choice but to “withdraw enthusiasm and issue strong resentment”.
LIAT observes that this announcement focuses on an alleged denial of the right to representation and a claim for retroactive pay.
In July 2009, all disputed issues between LIAT and LIALPA including that of retroactive pay were discussed at a meeting of the Company’s three shareholder Prime Ministers held in St. Vincent. An agreement was reached between the parties on a course of action for resolving them.
LIAT has since participated in the agreed Arbitration process and complied with all directions given by the Arbitrators. The Arbitration is expected to rule on various matters within the LIAT-LIALPA Collective Bargaining Agreement and a ruling from the three-member Arbitration panel is expected shortly. The company is awaiting the decision of the Arbitrators.
LIAT and LIALPA also have a number of matters before the Industrial Court in Antigua and Barbuda. Both parties are expected to function in good faith while these judicial processes are underway.
LIAT is committed to the resolution of all issues involving any Pilot under the procedures set out in the Collective Agreement between their Union, LIALPA, and the Company. As such the Company rejects the statement that LIAT has denied “the Association of its fundamental right to represent one of its members”.
LIATs Acting CEO, Brian Challenger, noted that the recent statement by LIALPA was particularly disappointing since there were no major outstanding issues presently before the parties that could warrant the disruptive effects of any industrial action by pilots on the public or the airline.
He said that while there would have been personnel and Human Resource matters affecting individual LIAT pilots, this was to be expected in any organisation. Further
LIAT has recently strengthened its Human Resource Department, which is making every effort to respond to the various industrial and employee related complaints from pilots and other staff that are before the company.
LIAT’s management notes that LIALPA’s pronouncement is particularly troubling coming before the months of July and August - usually two of the busiest for LIAT with high volumes of vacationers and other people making trips during the summer, including carnival celebrations in St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Antigua.
He also questioned the wisdom of initiating unwarranted industrial actions at a time when the regional and international economies are under such strains.
“Clearly the first people to feel the impact of any industrial action by the pilots will be the small man – the taxi driver, the hotel worker, the airport vendor. In that context one must really question any action that would harm so many soft interests at this time,” Mr. Challenger said.
The LIAT CEO noted that the Company had over the last few weeks been able to sustain enviable levels of on-time performance noting that this reflected what can be achieved when all concerned – pilots, engineers, ground staff, etc work together - with corresponding benefits to the travelling public.
Mr. Challenger emphasised that LIAT’s management remained committed to a fair and equitable working relationship with its pilots and all other employee groups and called on LIALPA’s leadership to show maturity, responsibility and commitment to the company at this time.
LIAT is one of the leading Caribbean airlines. It is owned by regional shareholders, with the major shareholders being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. More information about LIAT may be found at www.liat.com .
Desmond Brown, Corporate Communications Manager, LIAT (1974) Limited, Head Office, Sealey Building, Sir George Walter Highway, Antigua. Telephone: +268 480 5600 EXT 6222, fax: +268 480 5638 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.