Wednesday, September 18, 2019

LIAT warns of industrial action

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Barbados Today:-Regional carrier LIAT has warned that flights are being “threatened with disruption” by pilots, and members of the public could be inconvenienced over the weekend.

The airline and the pilots’ union, Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) have are stuck in a five-year-old public spat over a pension fund.

“While LIAT and LIALPA discuss these issues, exchange letters and documents in the normal course of industrial relations, the service provided to the public by LIAT is being threatened with disruption by the pilots,” Chief Commercial Officer Lloyd Carswell said in a statement today.

“LIALPA has, in its last press release, appealed to the public for support but LIAT is aware that some pilots may act in a manner which will result in inconvenience to members of the travelling public over the weekend.”

The pilots have accused LIAT of using “stalling and delaying tactics” in response to its call for the airline to provide accounting information regarding the retirement funds of its members.

LIALPA said it has been trying unsuccessfully for the past three years to get LIAT to provide the information and as recently as December last year, the company refused to respond to proposals from its attorney.

The union is now demanding that LIAT carries out its request, failing which it could not guarantee the “cooperation and enthusiasm” of members, a phrase normally used by LIALPA to warn that industrial action is imminent.

“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-year-old ordeal,” LIALPA said.

LIALPA President Captain Carl Burke has been quoted elsewhere in the media as saying: “Come the 15th October, I want to make this absolutely clear to Ms Julie Reifer Jones . . . if LIALPA is not given the audit of this account, I am going to go back to my membership. I will deliver that message to them and they will direct me as such.”   

Reifer-Jones, a Barbadian, has been acting as Chief Executive Officer since the departure of Britton David Evans in April.

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