LIAT and LIALPA clash on Pen­sion Fund again

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Afive-year-old­be­tween LIAT pub­lic man­age­mentspat over anda pen­sion­the Lee­ward fund reared Is­land­sits head Air­line again. Pilots’ As­so­ci­a­tion (LIALPA) has au­dit LIALPAand wantshas said­its pen­sion­the time fund­sis up hand­ed­for a promise­dover, while LIAT is ac­cus­ing the body of stir­ring up trou­ble.

In a press re­lease, LIAT’s man­age­ment hit back at a LIALPA and cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied any wrong­do­ing. The com­pany ac­cused LIALPA of in­ap­pro­pri­ately rais­ing the is­sue while it’s fac­ing the courts.

LIALPA Pres­i­dent Carl Burke, how­ever, said LIAT’s re­lease was a “red her­ring across the trail”.

“Our gripe with LIAT right now is an au­dit which they have been do­ing for three years now. Three months ago, the Act­ing CEO Julie Reifer-Jones promised we would get the au­dit by the end of Septem­ber….In to­day’s press re­lease she is now say­ing the au­dit will not be com­pleted un­til the end of the year,” Burke said. Burke said Reifer-Jones has ac­cused him of threat­en­ing strike ac­tion, but he said he has not done so to date. “It was agreed that the au­dit would be com­pleted and that the funds would be handed over to the pilots…and we would have trustees in place to take con­trol of those monies. This is where the prob­lem lies,” Burke said.

“Come the 15th Oc­to­ber, I want to make this ab­so­lutely clear to Ms Julie Reifer Jones…if LIALPA is not given the au­dit of this ac­count, I am go­ing to go back to my mem­ber­ship. I will de­liver that mes­sage to them and they will di­rect me as such,” Burke said. In a state­ment, LIAT said the Pen­sion Plan is cur­rently the sub­ject of four court ac­tions and LIAT re­spects that the is­sue is sub ju­dice, mean­ing that it should not be ven­ti­lated in the pub­lic do­main. The man­age­ment of the An­tigua based air­line also said it ad­heres to the process for the res­o­lu­tion of griev­ances set out in the col­lec­tive agree­ment, which does not in­clude the air­ing of such griev­ances in the pub­lic, but that it can­not re­main silent where is­sues may be mis­rep­re­sented to the pub­lic and as such it has felt it nec­es­sary to is­sue this brief state­ment.

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