Gulf Air expats 'may lose severance package'
Manama, December 21, 2012
Expatriates working at Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier, will not receive severance packages if they are made redundant, as part of the airline's plan to cut costs, a report said.
Bahraini pilots will not lose their jobs as a result of Gulf Air's restructuring scheme, but the airline has stopped recruitment in all departments, the Gulf Daily News report quoting officials said.
Around 1,800 jobs could be axed as part of a deal to secure a BD185 million government bailout, the report said.
The airline's future was discussed at a closed-door meeting last night between Transportation Minister Kamal Ahmed, Mumtalakat chief executive Mahmood Al Kooheji and Gulf Air Trade Union (GATU) members.
"Mr Ahmed emphasised that Bahrainis should have large (severance) packages if Gulf Air is going for restructuring and that non-Bahrainis will not be given (severance) packages because they are on contract," said GATU spokesman Mohammad Mahdi.
"He confirmed that there will be no more recruitment in Gulf Air, saying that he understands that it is a painful action but it has to be done.
"A very important point was that the minister confirmed that no Bahraini pilots will be made redundant."
It appeared in October that parliament and the Shura Council would rubber-stamp the cash injection into Gulf Air, after the government outlined a major downsizing plan designed to reduce the carrier's losses from BD95 million to BD58 million a year by 2017.
However, the issue has been put on the back-burner in parliament, while MPs focus on the national budget.
The unionist also confirmed that plans were underway to slash popular routes because they were not cost-effective.
"We told the minister that there are some routes that are always full that are going to be cut, so we asked why not just increase the price on these routes," said Mahdi. "These routes don't have to be cut just because of a pricing issue.
"We brought up this issue after he confirmed Gulf Air will terminate very busy flights because of non-profitability." - TradeArabia News Service
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