CARIFTA games could be in limbo as LIAT pilots plan strike

According to information coming out of St. John’s, Antigua, travellers have been put on alert for the possibility of an industrial strike to be taken by the regional airline that services over 10 countries.

The alert has noted that the major impact would be felt for the busy Easter weekend and days leading up to the holiday period.

That would affect the holding of the biggest Caribbean track and field event to be hosted this year by St. Kitts and Nevis, 3rd to 6th April.

According to Caribbean360 news, “The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has been calling on the airline to reinstate two pilots who were dismissed following an incident last October in which one of the company’s new aircraft was damaged.”

This publication understands that just recently there was a high profile meeting between representatives of the Pilots Association, the Airline, and several government ministers within Antigua with the hope of having those pilots reinstated.

However, information obtained indicates that the airline has ignored recommendations made by the government ministers regarding the reinstatement of the pilots.

Meanwhile, the pilots have accused LIAT of  “unethical rostering practices”, which according to them stems from the elimination of crew meal-breaks and an increase in work hours to compensate for a steadily declining workforce.

The Pilots Association notes that strenuous conditions have resulted in the regional carrier losing 10 percent of its pilot workforce over the last year.

LIAT responded to those claims by accusing the pilots of threatening industrial action at a time of high travel within the region.

With 25 of the 27 countries confirmed to participate in the 47th edition of the CARIFTA Games, it is left to see what will happen if the pilots do go forward with their strike actions, what would be the next move for the St. Kitts-Nevis Amateur Athletic Association and its Local Organizing Committee.

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