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Pilot Union defends industrial action at LIAT

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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STJOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has defended the decision of its members to stay away from work on Friday that led to a disruption in services of the regional airline, LIAT, saying that they were being asked to train and certify non-LIAT pilots to fly the company's aircraft.

LIALPA president Captain Carl Burke said the airline had signed a contract with a third party “or has given the understanding to a third party that they would train one of their pilots with our pilots.

“In our opinion the collective agreement does not allow this,” he said, adding that he had given certain instructions to his members.

“A few weeks ago I sent a memo to my pilots basically telling them to be on the lookout for this and that nobody within LIAT who is a member of LIALPA should do any training, flying, which includes simulation training and that sort of thing”. He said his members would only get involved “when the association has indicated that it has a signed or written agreement with LIAT “

On Friday, LIAT apologised to travels after its services were disrupted by the action of the pilots.,p> “LIAT apologises for these disruptions to our passengers and their plans and wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with LIALPA to resolve any issues,” said Julie Reifer-Jones, the airline's chief executive officer.,p> In a brief statement, LIAT said that the action by the pilots “stemmed from the union's disagreement with a company decision” which it did not elaborate on but added that it met with the union “in an effort to quickly resolve this issue with the pilots and restore services to the travelling public.,p> “However our flight services still remain disrupted,” the statement noted.

LIAT operates across a regional network of 14 destinations. It is owned by regional shareholders, with the majority being the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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