Air J staff on redundancy alert

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Air J staff on redundancy alert

Unread post by 30west » Fri Jan 16, 2009 ... lead4.html

Air Jamaica staff put on redundancy alert
Published: Friday | January 16, 2009

The country should know by next week if Air Jamaica will be cutting staff, even as efforts continue to divest the ailing airline.

Since last week, reports have surfaced that the management of the airline is to slash some routes and significantly reduce its staff in the face of the current economic turbulence.

However, the management says no decision has yet been made.

"We have gone through a review and we are developing a plan that is going to the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on that now. As soon as we have word, we will let you know," Bruce Nobles, president of Air Jamaica, told The Gleaner yesterday.

"We have no final decision and when any decision is made, we will talk with the appropriate groups."

Nobles' comment came hours after the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association put more than 150 pilots employed to Air Jamaica on alert.

"We have told our members that this is a possibility but we have not had any information," Russel Capelton, president of the pilots association, told The Gleaner.

However, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), which represents flight attendants, managerial and some ground staff at the airline, says it has not yet had any dialogue with its members.

"Nobody has said anything to us. We have heard some rumours but that is not enough for us to take to our members," Kavan Gayle, president of the BITU, told The Gleaner.

"We want to know about the plans to divest the airline and a management plan for the future. It cannot be that there is a staff reduction first without any long-term plan being released for the airline," Gayle added.

Employed last year

Nobles, a veteran in the airline industry, was employed by Air Jamaica last year to lead the restructuring of the carrier and prepare it for divestment by March 31.

The Bruce Golding administration has made it clear that it does not want the cash-bleeding airline on the books in the 2009-2010 Budget which is now being crafted.

Golding has reported that Air Jamaica has accumulated losses in excess of US$1 billion with US$170 million being lost by the airline in 2007.

The Government has contracted the services of IFC, the private-sector arm of the World Bank, as consultants/advisers in the divestment process.

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