THE Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) says it “has no other choice” but to call on the shareholder Governments of Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) to remove the airline’s current management.
In a statement issued on Monday, the association said it had chosen to make this call because 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.”
The association also chose to distance its members from LIAT’s recent statement, “Flight disruptions due to industrial unrest”, saying this “had nothing to do with LIALPA and we are not involved at all.”
The pilots association said its members are so dedicated that they “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.” Lamenting that its concerns about loss of market share, insufficient crews and poor route scheduling practices “continue to fall on deaf ears” at management level, the association said matters have been made worse by management’s refusal to “accept responsibility for the sad state of the airline’s affairs.”
The association claimed LIAT’s management is focused instead on making “scapegoats” out of the crew.
Another issue, this one time-sensitive, revolves around yesterday’s scheduled meeting in Barbados between LIAT and the various unions which represent its employees.
According to the association, management did not give its executive council members “adequate time off to meet and consult their other union partners before attending this meeting.”
“We hope this was not a plan to stop us from attending this critical meeting, and to restrict the number of LIALPA participants.”
The union reiterated that it has made its concerns public because it hopes “public pressure will cause the shareholders to make the only decision that will save LIAT, that is, remove the existing 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.”