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Pilots Refuse to Meet Without LIAT’s Top Boss

Pilots Refuse to Meet Without LIAT’s Top Boss

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One day after flight schedules returned to normal, representatives of the Leeward Islands Air Line Pilots’ Association (LIALPA) have refused to have any discussions with the management of LIAT in the absence of the Chairman, the Directors and the Shareholders.

LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gary Cullen said in a press release that LIAT met with the representatives of LIALPA on Friday, March 3, in an attempt to get them to resume negotiations under the terms and spirit of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the LIALPA representatives left the meeting after three minutes declining to have any discussion.

That meeting was also held to discuss issues raised in a press release sent to LIAT by LIALPA on Thursday, March 2.

Cullen said that the company had hoped to receive an assurance from LIALPA that there would be no repeat of the industrial action taken last Wednesday, March 1 but this clearly was not forthcoming and LIAT has sought the intervention of the Labour Commissioner to mediate between the two sides.

Three matters concerning LIAT and the pilots’ unions are up for discussion. They relate to the negotiation of a new Collective Agreement, a review of Pilots’ remuneration and the Provident Fund.

With regard to remuneration, Cullen explained that all LIAT’s management and staff were on a pay freeze due to the company’s financial position. On March 7, 2005, it offered LIALPA a three-year deal for the period 2005 to 2007 of +5 per cent +3 per cent +3 per cent .

Cullen said while all of LIAT’s major unions have accepted the pay deal, LIALPA instead filed for cumulative pay increases from 1998 totaling 45 per cent and a further 10 per cent in 2006.

This expectation said Cullen, is completely untenable given LIAT’s financial constraints.

Cullen, meanwhile has issued another press statement labeling a press release issued by the LIALPA as “extremely inaccurate”.

Cullen said, despite the press release issued on March 2, LIAT would continue to respect the spirit of confidentiality and cooperation which is fundamental to their Collective Bargaining Agreement.

On Wednesday, March 1, members of LIALPA, staged a sickout bringing most of LIAT’s flights to a halt, as they made public their grievances.

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