The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) announced this week that last April’ highly publicised situation between LIAT and the Association was not amicably put to bed and as a result LIALPA warned that there may be an escalation of the problem if LIAT does not comply by 1 June.
In a stern warning LIALPA stated that despite efforts there has been no compromise by LIAT and as such it was noted that actions might be taken: “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 1 June, in order to avoid any further escalation of this matter.”
“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. We trust that LIAT would change its present course and respect the basic principles of industrial relations and collective bargaining,” the Association announced.
LIALPA stated that its relationship with LIAT (1974) Ltd is currently strained and has deteriorated to an all-time low. The organisation suggested that LIAT has been operating in a nonchalant manner despite promises that were recently made. The Association spoke specifically about the salary increase promise.
“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. We accepted this deal on the premise that the pilots would make this a one-off concession to ensure the survival of the Company,” LIALPA explained.
However the Association explained that to date LIAT has not honored the compensation agreement it previously made. Further they said that the company has even gone as far as to reject the Association’s legal counsel’s suggestion that a Consent Order be obtained in the Industrial Court to formalise the salary agreement (which covers the years 2012-2017) thus paving the way for its implementation.
This situation, and airlines plan to add another deferral to payments owed to pilots was noted as an aggravator to the already waning relationship between LIAT and LIALPA. To this regard the Association announced: “It is our view that LIAT continues to act in bad faith. This is also 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 Association noted its 4 April meeting with the LIAT Board and shareholders and stated that it now believes that certain facts are being ignored: “We also made our position very pellucid to the Board of Directors and Shareholders at a widely-publicized meeting held in Barbados on 4 April. Management also continues to ignore the fact that the Association has placed this matter before the Industrial Court for determination.”
LIALPA further mentioned that its issues with LIAT has been ongoing since late 2012 when the Association engaged LIAT in negotiations for a new salary structure for its ATR-72 aircraft (not covered under the current MOA) and general salary increases.