New Gulf Air payout packages hit snag
Manama, February 22, 2013
Unionists at Gulf Air say they have rejected improved redundancy packages, reportedly put on the table for staff with open-ended contracts, during talks with Labour Ministry representatives.
The Gulf Air Trade Union said it had turned down an offer that would see staff laid off receive 30 days' salary for every year they had worked, in addition to a bonus payout and another three months' salary, a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, said.
Spokesman Mohammad Mahdi said the new deal had been brokered by Labour Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossery, but fell short of the two months' pay for each year's service and BD5,000 bonus that the union was looking for, the report said.
The original packages reportedly included just 12 days' pay per year and a bonus believed to be around BD3,000.
"Mr Al Dossery asked us to help get at least 600 of the 900 Bahraini employees (facing redundancy) to accept the deal and the other 300 could be dealt with at a later date," Mahdi said.
"We didn't only refuse that deal, but the whole restructuring process - and for good reason. A lot has changed since the restructuring plan was formed.
"For instance, the closure of Bahrain Air - our only competitor - and the recent reports that the Bahrain economy is stabilising. I know that the economy is not what it was before, but it is certainly better than when the restructuring plan was first drafted.
"We have called for a major update of the plan bearing in mind all the new variables."
Gulf Air has embarked on a major downsizing that involves shedding jobs, reducing its fleet and slashing routes.
Also at the meeting were representatives of the Bahrain Air Trade Union, Bahrain Labour Union Free Federation and members of the Labour Ministry's legal department.
It was agreed that all parties present would form a joint team to finalise procedures for Bahraini airline employees being laid off. Gulf Air declined to comment yesterday, the report said. - TradeArabia News Service
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