Air Seychelles to announce redundancy plan in coming weeks


21-November-2011

Air Seychelles’ chief executive Bram Steller said on Friday that while the employees have been informed of its financial situation, the airline is yet to state the number of workers and of which sectors of the company will be affected by the process.

The minister responsible for human resources and employment Macsuzy Monday said on Friday the department of employment is working closely with Air Seychelles to ensure the redundancy process is carried out as smoothly as possible.

Mr Steller said the airline is looking at its entire operation to decide on the number of employees it will need in each sector to continue running the airline in the wake of the restructuring process before finalising its lay-off plan which it will submit to the department of employment.

Air Seychelles’ deputy chief executive Garry Albert added that employees from sectors like ground operations, cargo and domestic would probably be among the least affected as the workers are essential to continue providing services to all the other airlines flying here.

Mrs Mondon said her ministry has already met Mr Steller and his team to discuss a redeployment programme for laid-off employees.

“We have already started looking at various posts in the government, especially those occupied by expatriates and as soon as we receive the list of laid-off employees from Air Seychelles, we will match their profiles with available vacancies,” Mrs Mondon said.

She noted that even though the public sector was recently downsized, there are still lots of vacant positions available. Vacant posts also exist in the private sector, especially in the financial field.

“Our aim is to help laid-off workers get a job as soon as possible and where it is necessary, help retrain them,” said Mrs Mondon.

She said employees are also free to carry out their own job search through employment agencies or their own contacts.

The announcement that some of the airline’s 900 workers would have to be redeployed created uncertainty among the airline’s workforce who earlier this year had received President James Michel’s personal reassurance that their job with the airline was safe.

Mrs Mondon noted that at that time, while the government was helping Air Seychelles, it had the highest hopes that the airline would overcome its difficulties, but this has not been the case.

She stressed that the government has always wished that the airline could keep all its employees.

Asked about how confident he is that repositioning the airline as a regional carrier is the way forward for Air Seychelles, Mr Steller said: “I am confident this will work because we will be leaner as an organisation. The yields in the region are higher per mile. There is no competition and we will be doing something new. We have to establish a closer network within the Indian Ocean region and the east coast of Africa. There we have a good chance to make good money. We can do it if we have the courage, and zeal to succeed.”

But with regards to the possibility of Air Seychelles ever resuming flights to Europe, Mr Steller said: “I have serious doubts Air Seychelles will in the future be able to fly back to Europe. It will be difficult to compete with big carriers flying all over Europe.”

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