Statement from LIAT regarding industrial action by LIALPA
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, December 07, 2011 –
On Tuesday 6th December and Wednesday 7th
December, members of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association
(LIALPA) called in sick throughout
the LIAT network, effectively shutting down the company’s flight
operations and stranding thousands of passengers throughout the region.
On both days only one flight was able to operate moving from Antigua and
action was a response by LIALPA to the summary dismissal by LIAT of
Captain Michael Blackburn, a senior
pilot within the company. This action by the company, taken after long
and careful consideration, reflects the advice received from various
legal sources that Captain Blackburn’s behavior, and in particular his
recent statements on the radio, had effectively
destroyed the requirement for professional respect expected between an
employer and its employees. In this case, summary dismissal as
contemplated under the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code was recommended
as the appropriate course of action.
particular it is felt that Captain Blackburn’s statements with regard
to the safety standards of the airline
and the capability of its management were a deliberate attempt to bring
the company into public disrepute. These statements, including those
relating to safety have received widespread publicity throughout the
region, and indeed the world, painting an unfair
and distorted picture of LIAT’s operations and bringing the safety and
reliability of the airline into question.
actions can only hurt LIAT. In that regard the action by the pilots,
while we may understand the emotions
involved, are at best misguided and at worst selfish. We are all aware
of the economic crisis which the world faces. LIAT’s own situation is
particularly grave given the intense competition that it now faces and
the overall economic situation in the region.
All around us companies in the region and throughout the world are
undergoing staff reduction and other austerity measures forced upon them
by the current economic downturn. During this time actions which
needlessly alienate our customers and rack up huge
cost cannot be condoned.
therefore urge LIALPA to seek appropriate remedies for its grievance
under the established procedures of the Labour Code and other
legislation. Sick-outs and other forms of industrial action
will not achieve the desired ends and will cost the company millions of
dollars which it cannot afford at this, or any other, time.
In particular the company wishes to place on record that the recent action in relation to Captain Blackburn does not represent any attempt by the company to interfere with the collective bargaining process. The company will continue to attempt to engage with its 10 union representative bodies in a manner which allows for respectful dialogue and exchange aimed at promoting the advancement of the company and its employees.
LIAT is one of the leading Caribbean airlines. It is owned by regional shareholders, with major shareholders being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. More information about LIAT may be found at www.liat.com.
MEDIA CONTACT| Desmond L. Brown | Corporate Communications Manager | LIAT (1974) LTD | Head Office, Coolidge Business Complex | Sir George Walter Highway | Antigua | Telephone: +1 268 480 6222 | fax: +1 268 480 5638 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org |