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LIAT pilots’ union calls for new management for airline

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The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has called on the airline’s shareholder governments to remove the current LIAT management.

The call from the pilots’ union came on April 3, one day after the regional airline advised the public that the delays and cancellations being experienced was as a result of industrial unrest.

According to LIALPA, the call for the removal of the management was “reluctantly” being made because they “will not stand by and watch the airline’s financial health continue to deteriorate at massive levels, to the point where LIAT can’t even pay salaries on time.”

The pilots’ union stated categorically that the flight disruptions cited by LIAT had “nothing to do with LIALPA” and they are “not involved at all.”

“As a matter of fact, we continue to pledge to the Caribbean people that we are currently going above and beyond the call of duty to get the airline running at optimal levels, even to the extent of not having meal breaks and working 11 hour shifts. We have already worked almost an extra week without pay. However, this is not sustainable,” LIALPA said.

Accusing the airline of “incompetent management and poor decision making,” LIALPA said their concerns relayed to management over many years “about the loss of market share, the insufficient crews and poor scheduling practices, continue to fall on deaf ears.”

According to LIALPA, “to make matters worse, management refuses to accept responsibility for the sad state of the airline’s affairs, and instead is focusing on making the crew the scapegoats. The travelling public deserves to know the truth: The current management at LIAT is not capable of running the airline at this critical time. Their track record speaks for itself.”

LIALPA and other LIAT unions are scheduled to meet with the LIAT shareholders in Barbados today, April 4.

The pilots union, however, said in their release that management has not given LIALPA’s Executive Council members the adequate time off to meet and consult their other union partners before attending this meeting.

“We hope this is not a plan to stop us from attending this critical meeting, and to restrict the number of LIALPA participants, where we intend to make our position clear: We are strongly against deferral of salaries and we will no longer subsidize the incompetence of management,” the release said.

“We are telling you the Caribbean public what management does not want you to know. We have done this, hoping that public pressure will cause the shareholders to make the only decision that will save LIAT: Remove the existing management. We are also doing this publicly because of LIALPA’s unwavering commitment to LIAT’s survival and the improvement of its financial health; but sadly this is not achievable with the current management team. Therefore, we reiterate to the Board of Directors that part of putting LIAT on solid financial footing is to get new management. When a company cannot pay salaries on time, then management must accept that they have failed and they should be removed by the Board of Directors or the shareholders they represent.”

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