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ST JOHN’S – The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) says the management of the regional carrier, LIAT has failed to honour an agreement concerning a new salary structure and a result the Association on Monday described its relations with the airline as “strained and deteriorated to an all-time low”.
In a release LIALPA noted that since late 2012, LIAT has been engaged in negotiations for a new salary structure for its ATR-72 aircraft (not covered under the current MOA) and general salary increases.
The pilots contend that after years of stalling and legal manoeuvring 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. To date LIAT has not honoured this agreement with LIALPA and has even gone so far as to reject our Attorney’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,” the statement noted.
The LIALPA said that in light of this situation it is their 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 programme on the pilots even though the association has publicly objected and rejected this programme.
“We also made our position very pellucid to the board of directors and shareholders at a widely-publicised meeting held in Barbados on April 4th 2017. Management also continues to ignore the fact that the association has placed this matter before the Industrial Court for determination.”
The statement added that 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 June 1st, 2017, in order to avoid any further escalation of this matter.”
The pilots’ union says that 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 statement advised.
There was no immediate reaction from LIAT’s management to the latest position adopted by its pilots.
LIAT’s management has since responded and said it refutes charges that it has acted in bad faith.
“LIAT continues to commit itself to open dialogue with its employees and their union representatives and for continued discussion to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome for all parties.
“LIAT also continues to assure its passengers that it is committed to ensuring smooth operations for our customers across the region,” the airline said in a release. (CMC/PR)