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Head of local union calls fr solidarity in supporting LIALPA

Leeward Islands Air Line Pilots' Association
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Head of local union calls fr solidarity in supporting LIALPA

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Dec 15, 2011


Head of local union calls for solidarity in supporting LIALPA
By Theresa Gordon
Thursday, December 15th, 2011.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua

President of the Antigua Trade and Labour Union (AT&LU) Wigley George has called for the full participation of the trade union movement, under the umbrella body of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to support the efforts of the LIAT pilots.

LIAT pilots have now spent more than a week agitating for the re-instatement of Chairman of the pilot’s union captain Michael Blackburn, who was summarily dismissed by the airline.

The AT&LU executive voted on Tuesday to show solidarity with the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA).

George is of the opinion that the TUC should join in solidarity and picket LIAT headquarters to showcase their disgust with the way in which Blackburn’s dismissal was handled.

“I think we need to show that this high-handedness is not allowed especially when there are guidelines enshrined in the company’s collective agreement; grievance procedures must be followed,” George said.

He said the company was obligated to meet with the LIALPA chairman before it could reasonably take any decision on his employment status.

“This has nothing to do with politics; it’s a trade union matter which can happen to any anyone. We should show worker’s power and show the full weight of the worker’s solidarity,” he said.

The union president also commented on the recent suggestions from St Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves that LIAT should be dissolved and restarted as a new airline company.

According to George, the sacking of the LIALPA chairman may have been a well thought out plan.

“It would appear to me that the decision to scrap LIAT 1974 limited was pre-determined and the first blow to LIAT would have been to find a way to fire the mouthpiece of the union, which is Captain Blackburn,” he said.

George called on LIAT to mend its relations with LIALPA, Captain Blackburn and the flight personnel, which caused a serious deterioration in good industrial relations.

The pilots have since resumed duties but the head of the coalition of unions Senator Chester Humphrey had issued a notice that LIAT could see further industrial action at any time.

Air traffic controllers are now threatening to withhold their services, but at last check, they had not delivered on that threat.

They are upset over late payment of an allowance, which one source said accounted for about half their monthly incomes.

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