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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidadian Ministry of Labour says it is unable to intervene in efforts to bring an end to protest action being taken by pilots with the regional carrier – Caribbean Airlines (CAL).

According to Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, based on the Industrial relations Act, the ministry's hands are tied.

“I cannot intervene based on the Industrial Relations Act… outlines the conditions under which I intervene in any dispute. And neither of the parties (CAL and T&T Airline Pilots Association—TTALPA) have requested my intervention at this time,” the minister told the Trinidad Guardian, while adding that  based on information received “the pilots have agreed to go back to work.”

However, she referred to reports of several flights being delayed --  “you don't need rocket science to work that out…that they have not really gone back to work.”

CAL pilots are refusing to fly the five ATRs for the airline because of what they say is the airline's total refusal to address serious safety issues and concerns they have raised.

Since Friday, several flights had to be cancelled and were delayed due to the pilots refusing to operate the aircraft which they say have been experiencing constant technical problems.

At the Tobago's terminal and Piarco International Airport on Sunday, passengers complained of waiting for hours.

Last Sunday, a CAL flight crew had to make an emergency landing at Hewanorra International Airport in St Lucia after a warning light came on in an aircraft.

Two days later another ATR aircraft scheduled to fly to St Lucia faced technical problems and passengers were forced to disembark and utilise another airplane.

On the weekend, CAL's communications manager Dionne Ligoure confirmed the flight delays.

“In the airline business when you have delays running one after the other you would expect spill-over into the next day and we have had delays today as well. But that was expected.” Ligoure could not say how many flights were delayed.

The ATR is a twin-engine turboprop, short-haul, airplane manufactured by a French-Italian conglomerate.

ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — The Sandals Group has announced the closure of one of its flagship locations – Sandals Grande, for a period of five months.

In a letter dated July 14, Chief Operations Officer at Sandals, Shawn DaCosta told the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union that Sandals Grande Antigua will be closed, effective September 20, for a period of five months “to undertake essential maintenance works”.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Tourism Minister Asot Michael were reportedly informed on July 13.

The announcement comes following news that another hotel – the Veranda Resort and Spa is to close between August 13 and October 13.

DaCosta told the General Secretary of the union, David Massiah that, “we wish to assure you that in connection with the closure, we will honour all our obligations to our team members.

DaCosta added that the Sandals Group recognises the importance of “reopening as quickly as possible and will endeavour to do so.”

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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives' antitrust subcommittee has voiced concerns about Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) $13.7 billion plan to buy Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) and is pushing for a hearing to look into the deal's impact on consumers.

The deal announced in June marks the biggest acquisition for the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has not said what it would do with Whole Foods' stores and other assets, but analysts and investors worry the deal could upend the landscape for grocers, food delivery services and meal-kit companies.

U.S. Representative David Cicilline requested the hearing on Thursday in a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee chairman.

Amazon and Whole Foods declined to comment.

Amazon shares closed up 0.1 percent at $1,001.81. Whole Foods rose 0.3 percent to $42.10.

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(Trinidad Guardian) Trade unions say they will be rallying their forces to resist any plan by the Government to send home more workers.

In response to statements made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at his second Conversations with the Prime Minister in Pt Fortin on Tuesday night, Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) president Ancel Roget and president of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke said the labour movement is uniting against what they describe as Government’s anti-worker policies.

Their warning came after Dr Rowley said there are 50,000 public servants on the State’s payroll and while there have been no major layoffs in the sector, he is not sure how long those numbers can be sustained if revenues continue to decline.

Duke, who described the statement as a “veiled threat,” challenged Rowley’s statement on the size of the public service which he said actually comprises 80,000 teachers, public officers, fire officers, health workers and prison officers.

“I serve notice to the Prime Minister to let him know we will not allow him to get away with mischief. Since he has entered office he has not offered one positive word of hope to public officers, now he has offered another threat. We are not taking that,” he said.

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(Trinidad Guardian) On the heels of an emergency landing in St Lucia by an ATR aircraft belonging to Caribbean Airlines (CAL), pilots yesterday held a “critical” meeting to discuss safety concerns over the aircraft.

The T&T Guardian was told by a source that the pilots are threatening to ground all flights until CAL rectifies all issues raised by them, including recurring technical problems on aircraft.

Contacted about the meeting held by the T&T Airline Pilots Association (TTALPA) yesterday, CAL communications manager Dionne Ligoure said she was aware but could not comment further on it.

On Sunday, Flight BW434 was forced to make an emergency landing at Hewanorra International Airport in St Lucia after a warning light came on in the aircraft’s cockpit. In a media report, it was alleged that a fire broke out in the aircraft’s engine. However, Ligoure categorically denied this. She added that it was also the first time a warning light had come on in that particular aircraft.

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