LIAT pilots’ strike ‘unreasonable’, says Browne

Several flights in and out of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) were either cancelled or delayed Thursday afternoon, as a strike by pilots employed by regional carrier LIAT persisted for a second straight day with one shareholder government branding the action “unreasonable”.

At the start of the day, it looked as if the carrier’s operations were back on track following Tuesday’s system-wide disruptions, with GAIA flights operating on schedule on Thursday morning.

However, by 6 p.m. the carrier reported that four flights out of Barbados – including two to Trinidad, one to Guyana and another to Tortola – had to cancelled, while others were delayed, leaves scores of passengers stranded.

At issue is pay and members of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots’ Association (LIALPA) are refusing to operate the airline’s ATR 72 series aircraft.

Late Thursday evening, LIAT’s Corporate Communications Manager Shavar Maloney warned that more cancellations were expected tonight and into Friday, even as the government of Antigua and Barbuda – the airline’s second largest shareholder after Barbados, which has 51 per cent ownership – appealed to the pilots to immediately get back to work.

The now two-day-old strike has affected LIAT flights in and out of Barbados.

While describing the protests as “unreasonable”, the Gaston Browne-led administration warned that the current strike would ultimately harm the people of the Caribbean and “undermine the probabilities of attracting more governments to share the burdens of providing for our own air links.

“Its destruction, fueled by unreasonable demands, can benefit no one,” the government said, while calling on the pilots to immediately return to work and to continue the negotiations leading to their payment in full “of the amounts agreed-to, in a mutually satisfying period”.

However, LIALPA have accused LIAT management of failing to honour a salary arrangement agreed to back in January 2017. And during a meeting in St John’s Wednesday, the pilots’ union rejected a new proposal tabled by management that would see its members receiving salary increases with respect to the ATR 72 from July 19, 2017.

LIAT has also proposed to make a retroactive ATR pay adjustment, dating back to 2013, in three installments commencing in December 2017.

However, LIAPA had earlier made it clear that its members wanted no part of any deferrals.

“While the company drags this out, the retroactive payment is increasing month by month to a point where they may have to later approach us to ask for some relief or to write off the outstanding monies owed completely,” LIALPA President Carl Burke had warned in a statement last month.

“The company, since January 2017, remains defiant and has used all reason to evade paying the recently agreed salary/ATR-72 weight pay package. The company has also refused to acknowledge and accept that the association has objected and indeed rejected its proposal to implement a salary deferral programme,” he said at the time.

LIALPA has further argued that in 2014 it participated in a salary deferral exercise, which was projected for five months, but lasted 14 months, without any tangible results.

Source: (CM)

6 Responses to LIAT pilots’ strike ‘unreasonable’, says Browne

  1. Saga Boy June 9, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Why are they trying to get blood out of stone? Time to stop flying to St.Lucia if that island cant make a contribution. All the other island have to pay their fair share or else reduce the flights.

  2. BimJim June 9, 2017 at 9:40 am

    What is really unreasonable is that the owner representatives of LIAT – the politicians – continue to believe and enforce a policy of political appointees running the entire airline.

    I am not going to expound on this – again – but the (minority) shareholder Chairman interferes with the airline on an almost daily basis, the Board is composed of people who do not have a clue about airlines, and the executive management is now so bad that an incompetent book-keeper withg zero aviation knowledge is now running the airline from the CEO position.

    What she knows now is only what LIAT has taught her, and we know where that has taken LIAT.

    If you put a pig to wash a car, the pig will make a mess of it. Making a mess and wallowing in mud that is the way of the pig. Our politicians – for decades now, this is nothing new – they keep putting pigs to wash the car, and every year they are surprised when there are more scratches and dents.

    Is this the pig’s fault? No, that is the way of the pig. Logically and clearly the damage is the fault of the persons sending the pig to wash the car.

    For over 40 years now the politicians have complained about the cost of LIAT – but still they keep sending the pig to do the damage.

    Furthermore, the owners of the car just get the bills and never see the accounts – LIAT has probably NEVER published its annual accounts for the taxpayers to see.

    This must be some really special pig. I wonder who is STILL getting the free pork after 40 years?

  3. Peter June 9, 2017 at 11:16 am

    The time is NOW! for people who call themselves wealthy investors and billionaires and Barbados Today term them as Tycoons….. I urge all reading this comment to click on this link…….
    and see how we in the Caribbean do not need LIAT and we can increase regional integration and trade that can earn Billions of dollars for economies. It will cost US$ 50,00 one way, carrying 1500 passengers all seated in first class comfort, plus over 100 20 ft. Alluminium containers of fresh agricultural from Barbadian owned and operated farms on 50 sq. miles of rich agricultural land negotiated by Barbados Govt… WAKE UP JAMES PAUL AND BOBBY MCKAY…. and processed as canned produce exported. instead of losing foreign exchange importing brands like Heinz, Del Monte, IGA, Presto, Ragu, Valrico and all those. All this can EARN Barbados over US $ 500 million dollars per annum. and oh the ferry will use Bds$ 2000.00 Two thousand dollars per one way journey, earning its owners/investors over $750,000.00 US dollars per single journey. Pays back for itself in less than nine months. Imagine. Liat charges almost BDS $ 1,000.00 round trip to Guyana. Super ferry charges BDS$ 200.00 round trip. COMPARE. Look at the profit line. Let me see Bizzy Ralph put his money where his mouth is. Hey even Sir COW and MAM and JADA and asll o’dem big boys…More employment , food processors employing thousands more, n plus more.

  4. Milli Watt June 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Jim don’t mind Peter mek dem hear. want this to go into next week.

  5. BimJim June 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    It is all good, Milli Watt, I am a mature adult who recognises that there those among us who dream out loud. Others want is to get float planes going around the Caribbean, why not a very large inter-island ferry?

    But dreams are impractical things, the people who do have money around here do not invest it back into infrastructure, the banks first want you to prove you don’t need the loan – and then want to charge you so much interest you can’t afford it.

    If you get a Chinese to do something with their money then they want to employ only Chinese and make mega-bucks to export from the country. They will also find some way to feck up the environment in the process (yuh doh tink Butch look a lickle slanty-eye too?).

    American venture capitalists want to build a business so fast in a year there is not enough population in Barbados to feed their expectations in year 2. Canadians, like the Brits, are mercenaries, They have no money, but they desperately want a chunk of the action and will steal your ideas to get it.

    So dream on, little grasshopper. But try to gain some practical experience and maybe one day you WILL do something great. Start by researching and creating a business plan for something small and work out all the details – costs, benefits, revenue and profits – and when you are done discuss it with several people who have successful business. Take note of their comments, then discard that business plan and start again on something larger.

    At some point you will have learned enough about how to actually move from an idea through pen and paper to reality – finding the funding is the hardest part – and the satisfaction of seeing your idea in front of you is an incredible feeling.

    So don’t just sit there making uneducated comments, get yourself practically educated in the ways of the world and make something from nothing!!

  6. Peter June 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Bim Jim, It is dreams. imaginations and creative thinking that makes this world such a great place. There are three kinds of people. Those that MAKE things happen, those that WATCH things happen, and those that WONDER what happened. Mill Watt surely exhibits he has a non thinking, non progressive and his name says it Milli-watt. If you read my comment carefully and clicked on the link, you would have better understood my recommending the usage of large high speed ferries. I had the opportunity to travel in quite a few, From London to Cardiff, in the Canary Islands, In Malaysia, Hamilton to Wellington in Zee Zealand and even across the Great Lakes from Chicago to Canada. Try one some time you won’t regret it. unbelievably smooth and luxurious. and not expensive. This ia a high speed ferry not a hovercraft


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