LIAT Pilots Sickout Disrupts Air Travel
A sickout by LIAT’s pilots early Wednesday morning left several of its passengers stranded at the E.T Joshua airport.
Some passengers who traffic goods in Trinidad and Tobago vented feelings of anger, claiming the industrial action was surely going to disrupt their business, while another passenger lamented that she was hurrying to get back to New York before a snow storm that was predicted to pass yesterday.
LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer, Garry Cullen, in a press release apologized for the disruption.
He stated: “The majority of LIAT’S flights have to be cancelled due to the nonavailability of pilots who called in sick and were not available for their rostered flying duties.
“We apologize to our customers for this great inconvenience and assure them that everything possible will be done to accommodate them on other services,” Cullen stated.
LIAT’s local manager Dominic Patterson declined from giving a comment, instead he gave a copy of Cullen’s press release.
“I feel real bad about this because I have been using LIAT since I started trafficking in 1978.We goods down in Trinidad right now offloading and nobody to take care of them. If anything happen they responsible for it,” said Shirley Bailey, an irate trafficker.
“I spend thousands of dollars and now nobody there to take care of it. It is this morning when I reach here I hear they say LIAT on strike,” said Joey Allen who claimed she has been travelling with LIAT for more than 30 years, adding that LIAT has left her in the dark. She said she sells potatoes, bananas and plantain.
“I’m feeling bad right now because when I reach in Trinidad they could tell me that they don’t get the load. So I running at a loss right now,” said Allen.
LIAT made arrangements later that morning for passengers to travel aboard Caribbean Star.
BBC Caribbean said one company official stated the pilots were hoping to push Liat into negotiating higher wages.
It further stated that the pilots were the only employee group not to sign a three-year wage agreement in July 2005.