News

Jamaican pilots fired by CAL not paid

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, March 28, 2013    

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FOUR Jamaican pilots who were fired last week by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) have not been paid their monthly salaries.

Kavan Gayle, president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that he has been informed by the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association (JALPA) that the four were given 24 hours to leave their staff accommodation in Trinidad and return to Jamaica, without pay.

JALPA says CAL is insisting that the pilots must return their uniforms and other property belonging to the airline before they are paid, but that this was not communicated to them up to when they left.

"No one from CAL had the courtesy to contact any of the gentlemen and indicate that these items were required, against the background of the circumstances surrounding their departure. JALPA says that the list of what is required has been patchy and they have written the airline to obtain what exactly is required and to whom should they be sent," Gayle said.

He said that the pilots union has also asked CAL to advise them how soon after the things are returned their salaries would be sent to their accounts.

Offers to extend agreements with four Jamaican pilots contracted by CAL since May 2012 were withdrawn by the airline and the pilots sent home from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, March 12. JALPA contends that they were sent home after they insisted that they be provided with work permits by the airline as the basis for an extension of the contractual agreement.

The pilots claimed that over the past year they have been constantly harassed at the Trinidad airport for failure to possess work permits, which CAL had assured them would have been provided during the past 10 months.

More than 60 pilots employed by Air Jamaica were fired by CARIBAL, a subsidiary of CAL, which operated Air Jamaica during the intervening period leading up to the merger with CAL. Most of them were re-engaged by CAL, but six pilots including the four who were discharged on March 12 opted for yearly contractual arrangements which had allowed them to continue being members of JALPA.

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