Pilot sickout at Liat continues

Washington DC
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Thousands of passengers remain stranded in the Caribbean as pilots at Antiguan carrier Liat continue a sickout that began on 16 June.

Liat's board of directors met today to address ways to restore service and "to deal with the severe distress" the shutdown has caused.

It is not clear when the pilots, who are represented by the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA), are expected to return to work. The pilots are in a dispute with the airline over retroactive pay for holidays and pension deductions.

After consulting with the legal authorities, the board decided to refer the retroactive pay issue to the Industrial Court for action. Other disputed issues were sent to arbitration, a Liat spokesman tells ATI. A decision is expected by 5 July.

"Given the issues highlighted by LIALPA as the basis for the industrial action the board expressed surprise that the Caribbean public is being held to ransom in this manner," Liat says in a statement. "There has been a total failure by LIALPA to respect normal industrial relations processes."

The board said the actions by pilots were "irresponsible" and urged them to return to work quickly.