Reduced compensation for dismissed LIAT pilot

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The near six year wait for justice has ended for former LIAT pilot Captain Michael Blackburn.

However, Blackburn, the former head of LIAT’s pilots’ union, did not get the level of financial compensation he was hoping for.

In its decision handed down this week, the Industrial Court of Antigua and Barbuda ruled that Blackburn significantly contributed to his own dismissal and that his compensation should be reduced by 65 percent, a statement from LIAT Friday afternoon revealed.

Without going into details on the compensation package, the airline also reported that the court was of the view that Blackburn’s assertions and pronouncements about his then employer and its management during the radio programmes did not advance the harmonious and symbiotic relationship between the pilots’ union and LIAT.

“As the then chairman of the union, the employee’s conduct was contrary to good industrial relations principles and practices,” the LIAT statement said, pointing out that the court in its judgment had provided guidance on the employment relationship and had confirmed that there were certain types of misconduct which were considered serious enough to warrant summary dismissal.

“The court also stated that there is an implied term of mutual trust and confidence which imposes a reciprocal duty on both employer and employee not to engage in conduct calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence between them.

“The judgment noted further that there is an implied obligation on each employee to serve his employer loyally and not to act contrary to the employer’s interest,” the Antigua-based carrier said.

When contacted Friday evening, Blackburn’s attorney Ruggles Ferguson was about to board a plane and promised to comment at a later date on the ruling, while Blackburn could not be reached for comment.

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