Strike action by LIAT pilots is being condemned by the government of Antigua and Barbuda as more flights have been cancelled today.
The pilots and LIAT management are in dispute over money and the time-frame in which their earnings are to be paid.
The government in repeating a statement issued earlier by LIAT said, “The pilots have been offered a reasonable payment schedule that takes into account the cash-flow position of the airline. Instead of exercising restraint and responsibility, the pilots have rejected the offer in an attempt to squeeze the cash-strapped airline to pay them immediately.”
The government continued, “Everyone connected to LIAT is aware that the cash-strapped carrier is very much dependent upon the treasuries of the four owner-countries in order to survive. These four states are incapable of making large payments to LIAT at this time, given the fiscal challenges which they face. It is unreasonable for the pilots to expect the governments to subsidise the excesses of their unreasonable strike action.”
According to the government statement, “Since neither LIAT nor its owner-governments possess sufficient financial resources to honour the demands for increases, then restraint must be exercised by the pilots; failing the exercise of reasonable restraint, the pilots will destroy the airline and their own employment options. Such an outcome would serve only to harm the Caribbean people, and to undermine the probabilities of attracting more governments to share the burdens of providing for our own air links.”
The government is calling on the pilots to return to work and to continue the negotiations leading to their payment in full of the amounts agreed-to, in a mutually satisfying period.
Five flights were cancelled yesterday and others delayed, affecting over 1,000 passengers.