Pilots object to LIAT's statement on new pension plan

Leeward Islands Air Line Pilots' Association
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bimjim
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Pilots object to LIAT's statement on new pension plan

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Aug 10, 2011

http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/bus ... an_9370501

Pilots object to LIAT's statement on new pension plan
Friday, August 05, 2011

ST JOHN'S, Antigua, CMC

The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has accused the regional airline, LIAT, of engaging in "inaccuracies" regarding the new pension plan for workers.

Over the weekend, LIAT's Communication Manager Desmond Brown said the airline is proceeding with introducing new pension arrangements for its employees following the collapse of the Trinidad-based Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO).

Brown said that the new pension plan commenced in 2006 where funds were deposited into CLICO and that the rules governing the new (2006) pension plan were not the same as the defunct Provident Fund.

"The 2006 Pension Plan contains a vesting schedule which determines how much of the Company's contribution is paid to all employees upon departure from the Company, depending on the length of their membership in the plan.

"The company has duly applied the vesting rules fairly with regard to all employees including pilots. All employees who have had pension claims have had these met in conformity with the requisite rules governing these arrangements," Brown added.

But in a statement, LIAPLA said it has noted with "grave concern and regret" the statement made by Brown and that it is "appalled and deeply disappointed" that he "continues to mislead the public with statements filled with inaccuracies and at times blatant dishonesty.

"We were left with no other choice but to refute his statements and tell the Caribbean people the unvarnished truth, inclusive of all facts surrounding LIAT's Pension Plan that Mr. Brown either unknowingly or deliberately omitted," LIAPLA said in its statement.

It said that contrary to Brown's statement, all employees, including pilots, did not receive "all contributions paid into the fund in a final payment" and that in 1997 the trustees closed the Fund because LIAT was deducting monies from employee salaries and not paying it into the Fund.

"LIAT did not willingly open a New Pension Fund but was rather forced to do so by the Court. After the fund's closure in 1997, the company unilaterally decided that it will not deduct the five per cent from the salaries, neither will it pay its seven per cent contribution.

"But in the pilots' contractual agreement, it is stated that the company shall maintain a Pension Fund for the pilots, so LIALAPA took LIAT to court immediately," the pilots' union said, noting that the Court then ordered that both the employees' and employers' contributions belonged to the employee and also ordered a 12 per cent interest to be paid on the outstanding monies owed that LIAT had stopped paying after the Fund's closure.

"We wish to categorically state that NO new Pension Plan commenced in 2006. At that time, a proposal for a fund was rejected by the employees," LIALPA said, challenging Brown to produce documents for the 2006 pension fund.

The union said that the "first and only consultation on a new Pension Plan took place on 26th July 2011" and that it knows "of no other consultation that has taken place over the past several years.

"All that has happened prior to the 26th July 2011 is the dissemination of information by Brown on 24th May and 21st June 2011," the union said, calling on Brown "to retract his false statement that pilots received all contributions when the Provident Fund closed in 1997".

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Re: Pilots object to LIAT's statement on new pension plan

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Aug 10, 2011

I think it would be a considerable advantage to LIAT's future if the owners of the airline would once and for all get rid of the upper and middle management who are liars and fakers with little to do but cause strife and frustration within the company - who they are is well known by the employees. This nonsense was going on for the entire 16 years I was there from 1980 to 1995, and the same nonsense is going on today.

Workers at a company as small, intense and hard working as LIAT do not need internal strife as a daily part of their lives. Rather, the small size and intensity should be a basis for harmony and efficiency - these ongoing labour difficulties must be stopped if LIAT is to progress.

Negotiations for a single contract should not go on for over a decade - much less go on for over a decade TWICE (the pilots' contract). Management should not be unilaterally making blanket decisions about the future of hundreds of employees without consultation... yet they do it all the time, and the ensuing strikes disrupt passengers all over the Caribbean.

I have been calling for a review of LIAT management for over a decade... yet the make-work, unearned entitlement, superiority and verbal rubbish emanating from the Kremlin has not changed.

All the useless LIAT Board do is bring in one foreigner after another who know nothing of the local culture/s, tie their hands behind their backs, and then tell them to make a difference.

Which is why I have also been calling for a review of the LIAT Board... if you want changes to happen, they must happen from the top. The culture of hardware store and restaurant owners who think they know all about an airline and it is all the same as selling lumber and hammers don't have a clue now, and they have not had a clue for 50 years.

If there ever was a time for change, it is now.

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