Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association – Press release
P O Box 2313, St John’s, Antigua ♦ Tel: 246-243-2829 ♦ Fax: 246-562-2743
DATE: 15th June 2010
PILOTS GIVE LIAT MIDNIGHT DEADLINE TO RETRACT & APOLOGISE FOR STATEMENTS FILLED WITH DISHONESTY AND DECEIT
(St John’s, Antigua) In a high-level meeting held at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados on Tuesday 15th June 2010, LIAT’s Management was given an ultimatum by Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) to retract several statements made in its Press Release dated Monday 14th June 2010.
The pilots maintain that the statements made by LIAT were filled with outright deception and blatant lies.
In its release, the company stated: “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.”
LIALPA categorically states that the above statement is false and further challenged LIAT’s management at the Tuesday morning meeting in Barbados to produce the evidence that such agreement was reached with regarding to retroactive pay. As expected, the management could not provide such an agreement because no such agreement ever took place.
LIAT’s CEO further stated in the Company’s release that he “questioned the wisdom of initiating unwarranted industrial actions at a time when the regional and international economies are under such strains.”
LIALPA have indeed taken a look at the global situation and have noted the ongoing industrial action by pilots at Spirit Airlines in the United States due to a three-year old dispute over pay. We have also noted what is happening in Canada, where there is pending industrial action by pilots at Air Canada Jazz because pilots have been working for an entire year without a contract. The pilots also observed the recent strike action in the United Kingdom by cabin crew at British Airways due to a failure of talks over pay for three years. Even closer to home, a few weeks ago, air-traffic controllers in Barbados took industrial action because of retroactive pay and working conditions.
All of the above conditions existed between one to three years, yet industrial action occurred. In the case of LIALPA, disputes have being ongoing for some twelve (12) years. The pilots are reminding the general public that they have showed restraint for far too long, especially in light of LIAT Management’s clear unwillingness to settle outstanding disputes amicably.
Even the Company’s CEO acknowledged in his recent statement that the airline has “over the last few weeks been able to sustain enviable levels of on-time performance.” This clearly indicates the commitment being shown by the pilots, as they continued to go above and beyond the call of duty. However, this commitment is not forthcoming from LIAT’s Management.
LIALPA remains deeply saddened at the recent posture taken by the Company at the Barbados June 15th meeting, where the CEO refused to go back to the public and retract its blatant lies and apologise for its deceitful statements. Despite this, the pilots have still given the CEO until midnight to make the necessary retractions and apologies. If this midnight deadline is not met, then the pilots will have no other choice but to “withdraw enthusiasm and issue strong resentment” after showing twelve (12) years of restraint.
LIALPA’s position remains clear. The Company must do the following:
1) Pay all monies that are owed due to illegal deductions made from salaries.
2) Settle all retroactive public holiday payments
3) Address concerns about the status of current pensions deductions
4) Sign-off on a new contract immediately following the arbitration judgment
Anything less is unacceptable.