(St John’s, Antigua) For over three (3) years, the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA)
has been trying to overcome the stalling and delaying tactics of LIAT’s management in releasing
accounting information with regards to their Retirement Funds.
As recent as last December, the Company refused to respond to proposals from LIALPA’s Attorney.
These proposals are in agreement with the Court’s ruling that the collective agreement between
LIALPA and LIAT is binding and enforceable and emphasizes that the staff provident (retirement) fund
contributions cannot be unilaterally closed and arrears are to be paid and contributions should
continue. The proposals also called for an audit of all staff provident fund deductions not yet paid
out to pilots, in order for any new pension scheme to be started.
LIALPA has received sound legal advice that the company’s unauthorized
deductions/contributions from pilots’ salaries other than towards the contracted staff
provident (retirement) fund, is a breach of Labour Laws (specifically Sections C34(1), C30
and 33) and constitutes a criminal offense.
LIALPA insists that “Transparency and Accountability” should be the order of the day at LIAT.
However, despite many repeated calls from the pilots to account for their contributions to
date into the Staff Provident Fund, the calls either continues to fall on deaf ears. Last month
(September 29th 2016) this matter escalated at a meeting, when the Company yet again informed
pilots that they will not be getting any information with regards to their retirement funds. The
Company continued to quote the same reasons it has been citing for the past 36 months: “problems
LIALPA deems this excuse “totally unacceptable.” Therefore, we have come to the general
public, so that they can become aware of the three (3) year old problem, the defiance and
unreasonableness of LIAT’s Management, and the decreasing patience of pilots. LIALPA’s
leadership continues to contain its pilots’ angst and skepticism, but we can only do so much
when the Company remains defiant in activities contrary to Court Decisions and contrary to
Transparency and Accountability.
LIALPA has no other choice but to make a public appeal for LIAT to produce audited statements of
pilots’ contributions into their Retirement Fund. We demand nothing less than a company that
conducts its business in a Transparent and Accountable manner. This would ensure the continued
cooperation and enthusiasm the pilots have shown to the company in the face of this
ongoing three (3) year ordeal.