LIAT Chairman Wants To Find Common Ground With Pilots

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Chairman of regional carrier LIAT, Dr Jean Holder said he is committed to ensuring the survival of a committee set up to forge a new model of co-operation between the company and pilots.

This is in response to a decision by the Leeward Island Airline Pilots’ Association (LIALPA) to withdraw from the six-member committee that was set up in December 2016.

The union advocate for the pilots argued a week ago, that the document outlining the mandate of the committee, seeks to stifle the rights of the association.

Dr Holder dismissed the suggestion and said LIAT was not attempting to muzzle LIALPA.

He said the joint LIALPA/Board of Directors committee is a very good idea and should not be abandoned.

Holder added that forging a better working relationship between the pilots and the airline is key to ending disruptions that have led to customers not getting the best service that can be given and which they deserve.

The LIAT board chairman said he will talk to his colleagues to ensure the idea does not die.

The committee comprises three members of the board of directors and three representatives from LIALPA.

The mandate of the committee speaks to building and fostering a higher level of trust between the association and the company, and calls for the establishment of a protocol for communications between the two.

The mandate also said there is to be no threatening communication or ultimatums to management and no disrespect to the management and Board of Directors either through letters, emails, radio shows or social media.

It also asked for a commitment by both parties to keep internal matters out of the public eye as the reputational damage to LIAT hurts everyone. The pilots and LIAT often square off publicly.

LIALPA President Captain Carl Burke has reiterated the pilot’s stance and said the mandate ought to be revised.

Last week, he said, “The draft mandate did not reflect what was discussed at that December 1 [2016] meeting. We [wrote] to Mr Solomon expressing our disappointment in the direction in which the committee wanted to steer the negotiations. The draft mandate from the board was clearly trying to remove our constitutional rights and also our labour rights under the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Code.”

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