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LIAT averts pilots industrial action – agrees to begin paying pilot’s timely and outstanding salaries

Following years of struggle for pay and back-pay and general working conditions the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) in a release dated May 21, 2017 stopped short of expressing a threat of industrial action. “As a result of LIAT’s actions and the volatility of this situation, LIALPA would like to once again make a final appeal to LIAT to honour its agreement with the pilots by June 1st, 2017. Failure to do so would leave the Association with no other choice but to act, so as to protect the interest and rights of its membership.”

A brief background to the current situation was stated in the earlier release. It read: “Since late 2012, the Association has engaged LIAT in negotiations for a new salary structure for its ATR-72 aircraft (not covered under the current MOA) and general salary increases. After years of stalling and legal maneuvering by LIAT, including the Company filing legal action in both the High and Industrial Courts, the Association in the spirit of fostering and maintaining a good relationship with LIAT accepted the Company’s salary package offer in January 2017…To date LIAT has not honoured this agreement with LIALPA and has even gone so far as to reject our Attorney’s suggestion, that a Consent Order be obtained in the Industrial Court to formalize the salary agreement (which covers the years 2012-2017) thus paving the way for its implementation.”

The pilots continually expressed the view “that LIAT continues to act in bad faith…evident by the Company’s insistence to unilaterally impose, yet another salary deferral program on the pilots even though the Association has publicly objected and rejected this program.”

The pilots aslo referred to their position made, “very pellucid to the Board of Directors and Shareholders at a widely-publicized meeting held in Barbados on April 4th 2017,” as management “also continues to ignore the fact that the Association has placed this matter before the Industrial Court for determination.”

However, reports eventual developments through today, such action had been threatened on Wednesday, but averted. The Association through its president Captain Carl Burke on Wednesday, had announced planned action, ‘which will take the form of sit-ins at various airports and possible picketing, may run for at least four days.’

Immediately, following the ultimatum threat of serious action, which gave the management until midnight on Wednesday to pay outstanding

salaries, Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin called an emergency meeting with president of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIAPPA) Captain Carl Burke , members of the airline’s management team and others.

Late Wednesday night, confirmed by Captain Burke, LIAT said discussions were cordial and “the management and pilots have reached a mutually amicable decision on outstanding issues.”

The captain and president of the LIAPPA said agreement was made by LIAT to begin payment as promised recently especially regarding the ATR-72 aircraft, continuing with a structured means of meeting the outstanding payments and regular payments of salaries.

Meanwhile, the pilots’ association maintains that management change is absolutely necessary as it calls that “LIAT would change its present course,” and of course, “respect the basic principles of industrial relations and collective bargaining.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Following years of struggle for pay and back-pay and general working conditions the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) in a release dated May 21, 2017 stopped short of expressing a threat of industrial action. “As a result of LIAT’s actions and the volatility of this situation, LIALPA would like to once again make a final appeal to LIAT to honour its agreement with the pilots by June 1st, 2017. Failure to do so would leave the Association with no other choice but to act, so as to protect the interest and rights of its membership.”

A brief background to the current situation was stated in the earlier release. It read: “Since late 2012, the Association has engaged LIAT in negotiations for a new salary structure for its ATR-72 aircraft (not covered under the current MOA) and general salary increases. After years of stalling and legal maneuvering by LIAT, including the Company filing legal action in both the High and Industrial Courts, the Association in the spirit of fostering and maintaining a good relationship with LIAT accepted the Company’s salary package offer in January 2017…To date LIAT has not honoured this agreement with LIALPA and has even gone so far as to reject our Attorney’s suggestion, that a Consent Order be obtained in the Industrial Court to formalize the salary agreement (which covers the years 2012-2017) thus paving the way for its implementation.”

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The pilots continually expressed the view “that LIAT continues to act in bad faith…evident by the Company’s insistence to unilaterally impose, yet another salary deferral program on the pilots even though the Association has publicly objected and rejected this program.”

The pilots aslo referred to their position made, “very pellucid to the Board of Directors and Shareholders at a widely-publicized meeting held in Barbados on April 4th 2017,” as management “also continues to ignore the fact that the Association has placed this matter before the Industrial Court for determination.”

However, reports eventual developments through today, such action had been threatened on Wednesday, but averted. The Association through its president Captain Carl Burke on Wednesday, had announced planned action, ‘which will take the form of sit-ins at various airports and possible picketing, may run for at least four days.’

Immediately, following the ultimatum threat of serious action, which gave the management until midnight on Wednesday to pay outstanding

salaries, Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin called an emergency meeting with president of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIAPPA) Captain Carl Burke , members of the airline’s management team and others.

Late Wednesday night, confirmed by Captain Burke, LIAT said discussions were cordial and “the management and pilots have reached a mutually amicable decision on outstanding issues.”

The captain and president of the LIAPPA said agreement was made by LIAT to begin payment as promised recently especially regarding the ATR-72 aircraft, continuing with a structured means of meeting the outstanding payments and regular payments of salaries.

Meanwhile, the pilots’ association maintains that management change is absolutely necessary as it calls that “LIAT would change its present course,” and of course, “respect the basic principles of industrial relations and collective bargaining.”