Many loyal and hard-working Air Seychelles staff are now finding themselves entering the country’s “unemployed list” after years of dedicated service to the National Airline. These young Seychellois have little option but to abandon their chosen careers in the field.
Most of those being laid off are looking to the tourism trade for alternative employment. With the present freeze on construction of large hotels following the carrying capacity study on the islands, it may be difficult for the sheer volume of former Air Seychelles staff to be assimilated into the workforce. Many workers who were laid off when Beachcomber Sainte Anne Resort closed for reconstruction late last year are still unemployed. Prospects are slim and we cannot force Air Seychelles cabin crew to take on jobs they were not trained for and have no passion for.
The contract between the Airline and Etihad was the topic of the debate in the National Assembly recently. While the Assembly did dedicate some time to pushing political agendas and testing the boundaries of their “absolute privilege” by deliberately making misleading statements, they eventually got to the point and concluded that the redundancy of the Air Seychelles staff would need to go ahead, and that the existing contract with Etihad Holding would need to be maintained.
The cabin crew contingent of the airline took to the streets of Victoria after they sought assistance from the Seychelles Labor Union (SLU), which organized their peaceful protest and liaised with the Police on their behalf after a meeting with the Air Seychelles Staff Association.
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The Airline has now come back with a slightly better offer for redundancy, but the big bone of contention is that they were being paid a base salary that was inferior to what their colleagues on Etihad were earning and are not receiving flying allowances.
The Air Seychelles staff are planning a bigger protest in Victoria shortly to emphasize the extent of their discontent, and are counting on the support of the public in this regard.