A meeting will be held here Tuesday to discuss how to get out of the latest problem facing the struggling regional carrier, LIAT, which is embroiled in a salary dispute with staff.
The airline’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones said the shareholder governments had agreed to intervene in the carrier’s latest disagreement with workers and will meet Tuesday to determine how to avert industrial action.
The unions representing the workers have rejected the company’s plan to pay salaries late because of its financial woes. The unions have also threatened to take action if the airline proceeded with the deferrals.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the pilots’ union, the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) went a step further, saying it “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”.
It also called on the shareholder governments to sack the management.
“LIAT 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 said in the release.
The union also strongly denied claims that delays in service experience over the weekend were due to industrial action by the pilots.
“This has nothing to do with LIALPA and we 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,” the release stated.