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A LIAT ATR-72 aircraft.
A LIAT ATR-72 aircraft.
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BRIDGETOWN (CMC) — Pilots employed with the cash-strap regional airline, LIAT, Friday confirmed that they had agreed to a less than 10 per cent salary cut in a bid to keep the airline in the air.

President of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIAPA), Carl Burke, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that while he was not at liberty to disclose the exact amount the pilots had agreed to, pending the Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados receiving the necessary communication, he was nonetheless indicating that it was not the 10 per cent that had been requested.

He said that during a meeting with LIAT a request had been made for the 10 per cent pay cut across the board and that the pilots “wrote to them and said we did not have the confidence in LIAT’s management to take us out (of this)… and we were very cautious about making an investment in the company at this time.

“We met with the shareholders on Tuesday and Prime Minister Mottley did give a guarantee at the shareholder level that she would ensure that there was accountability ad it would not be business as usual”.

He said pilots on Thursday night “actually voted” on the salary cut and which has since been communicated to Mottley.

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“At the moment I have to make sure that she has received our communication before I could give you that information… (but) it is less than 10 per cent, it is not 10 per cent,” Blake told CMC.

The shareholder governments of the airline are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and they have been seeking to get other Caribbean countries to contribute a total of US$5.4 million in emergency funding need to keep the airline in the sky.

At the same time, 11 destinations had been given until March 15, to respond to the airline’s minimal revenue guarantee (MRG) proposals.

Under and MRG model, it is likely that a few flights may be cut if the government is not prepared to fund them with a guarantee.

Media reports here said that trade unions representing the airline’s workers at its 15 destinations, had, during a six-hour meeting here on Wednesday involving Mottley and her St Vincent and the Grenadines counterpart, Ralph Gonsalves, agreed in principle to the salary cut, pending further deliberations with their members.

The unions are reported to have agreed to a six per cent salary cut.

The Barbados-based online publication, Barbados TODAY, reported Friday that the airline could collapse if LIAT management is not given a positive response from the trade unions before the Barbados financial year ends on March 31.

LIAT’s finances are so dire that if they do not come to an agreement to allow for savings for the shareholders, which would keep LIAT viable, the airline could fold,” the publication quoted a source as saying.

Blake dismissed suggestions that the pilots were to blame for “holding up” efforts to ensure the survival of the airline, telling CMC: “I don’t think we should have been blamed for that. As I stated earlier on we have been in a situation where the management has made some serious blunders over the years and this has placed us in the position we are in right now.

“The pilots took the time out to explain a lot of these things to the shareholders. They basically are now being brought into the loop …with the day to day running of LIAT. They listened to us, they are very concerned about what the unions brought to the table.”

12 replies on “LIAT pilots agree to salary cuts to help save airline”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Most of the other actors, including some of the country owners of the airline, have so far agreed to nothing.

    The non owners have agreed to less than nothing by not even responding to a request for financial support of this failing airline.

    Still, if LIAT ends up being liquidated (sold in small pieces), other airlines will quickly pick up the pieces and operate at a profit.

  2. Can’t we just ask the chairman to legislate salaries as we often do in SVG. Anyway in my opinion the shareholders have to take the blame for the recurring mess under different management teams that LIAT constantly finds itself in. They have failed to do what was needed to make the airline profitable and continue to impoverish the taxpayers.

  3. Elma Gabriel says:

    It is a very poor excuse when any management after repeated dysfunctional conducts in operations, believe that putting the guilt on the Pilots would be carried; or accepted by us the consumers.

    Over the past 50 years, those of us who have often in transit in Barbados, Antigua and Trinidad can tell stories of our many encounters through the tardiness of LIAT’s Management. Furthermore, I personally are still awaiting compensation for loses that management failed to peruse. LIATS’s Pilots have been extremely reliable in ensuring our safety in getting from Island to Island within the Caribbean and, for that they deserved to be compensated. However, yet again we must be grateful to them for agreeing to a cut in their salary.

    I am looking forward to PM Mottley’s “NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL” promise on accountability, as a high percentage of us are convinced that the ‘serious blunders over the years’ occurred because of persons (with the exception of the Pilots) becoming too comfortable in their jobs, spoiled by the Union, noticeably overstaffed by their laid back aspect due to excessive manpower on the ground, clearly oblivious frame of mind to the impact in regards to profitability.

    And; let us not pretend to be blinded of the similar observation at our AIA. Keep in mind that “The way to bring about change is to be proactive and active.”

    1. Yes Elma. The failure can clearly be layed at the feet of the shareholder governments. we all know of at least one of these leaders that has proven himself totally incompetent in all maters relating to economics.His economic philosophy seems to be “more for me, less for you”.

  4. Anthony Martin says:

    The governments probably need to sell LIAT to a private company. I am thinking that LIAT should be managed and operated by a business entity rather than by politicians. Keep politics and state affairs, state relations and personal state interests out of the airline company. Probably then the airline will become viable and profitable. It should be a business venture, not a government service.

  5. Caribbean Joe says:

    why aren’t we hearing the chairman and board of director talking about taking pay cuts themselves?

  6. Anthony Stewart says:

    To keep Liat flying, the airline should be operated on a percentage basis. This means that there would be no fixed amount for all aspects of the service. Government taxes could be 5%, Maintenance 10%, Staff accommodation 10%, Profits 5%, Salaries and wages for all categories of workers including management 70%.

  7. Whoa, is how much them pilot salary is? So, LIAT thinks that a 10 percent cut in pilots’ salary would help save the airline? Is this where, “too little too late,” began?

    Ever how much the salaries are, they deserved it. All of it. They kept me and you safe for the Lord knows how many flights. And, frankly, I-man prefer a happy, if only a satisfied, pilot flying I and I. And don’t doubt, is not pilot salary what have LIAT in the hellhole they’re in.

    Sure, every little bit adds up but if LIAT thinks that a 10 percent cut in pilot salary is going to help save the airline then, right there, that’s the problem: LIAT don’t know maths. Or what the problem is.

    The last time a company couldn’t manage to pay the salaries good, the police sent the fully armed Black Squad, dogs and all, the keep the people quiet so is a good thing the pilots don’t live in St. Vincent. Else …

    When a company start attacking salaries, duck.

  8. I got even worse when the brought the wrong aircraft and Gonsalves approved the deal.

    For Gods sake get him out of there.

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