Gulf Air ‘puts job cut plans on hold’
Manama, September 2, 2013
Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, is not planning any further redundancies this year, according to trade unionists.
The airline refused to confirm it had put its redundancy scheme on hold, but the Gulf Air Trade Union (GATU) told the GDN it had reliable information that no more staff would be let go in 2013.
Union leaders in July called on the management to halt layoffs after it emerged Gulf Air had reduced its losses by 50 per cent through a major cost-cutting programme.
This involved around 950 redundancies, fleet size reduction and the slashing of routes designed to cut losses from BD95 million ($245 million) to BD58 million by 2017.
"To my knowledge, no-one will be fired until the end of the year," said union spokesman Mohammed Mahdi yesterday.
"Now this is being said informally among those in Gulf Air. They say that the airline is focusing on other options and is doing well with its cost-cutting."
The union is still fighting on behalf of 34 Bahraini employees who were previously handed compulsory redundancy.
However, most of the 950 employees who have already left, accepted voluntary redundancy packages.
The airline was reportedly seeking to shed up to 1,066 of 3,800 jobs as part of the downsizing operation - of which 565 were based abroad.
"We haven't given up on the 34," added Mahdi. "We are trying to get them reinstated, but we are not getting any responses from Gulf Air or the Labour Ministry on that."
Most recently, the union has been trying to save the job of a pilot who it claims is facing unfair dismissal.
"This pilot has come to the union claiming that he is being terminated because of an extended sick leave, but more so because he was doing the wrong shifts when he got back from his leave," said Mahdi.
"When he came back from medical leave, he printed off his duty schedule through the system, but when he was told he had to resign or be fired, the management showed him a duty roster that was different to the one he had. This is a clerical mix-up that shouldn't mean someone gets fired, so we took the complaint to the Labour Ministry yesterday."
Gulf Air declined to comment. – TradeArabia News Service