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Thursday, 05 October 2017 09:24

Ministerial Visit to Air Seychelles

 

'Business as normal' at Air Seychelles

The department of employment will be working in close collaboration with Air Seychelles Ltd to improve on the working conditions of the airline's staff.

This statement was made by the Minister for Employment, Immigration and Civil Status, Myriam Télémaque, after a series of ministerial visits she and her delegation undertook at Air Seychelles on September 21 and 22, 2017.

 

This forms part of her ministry's plan to conduct visits at different work places so as to interact with employees and better gauge their conditions of employment.

 

Due to the large scale of Air Seychelles which currently employs over 800 people, the visits spanned over two days and included tours at the company's Victoria sales offices, its Praslin terminal operations as well as operations at and near the international airport.

 

Minister Télémaque's visit revealed a lot of concerns from Air Seychelles staff, who were more than ready to list down their list of grievances to the minister and her team.

 

 

On the subject of redundancies, Air Seychelles confirmed to the ministerial delegation that there are currently no plans to make any employees redundant.

"What we have suggested to the management of Air Seychelles is to at least talk to their employees. Give them a timeframe as to when they will discuss on the issue of redundancy so as to remove doubts that they could lose their jobs," Minister Télémaque stated.

In an interview with the press, Mr Kinnear stated that the speculation on redundancies at Air Seychelles are unfounded.

"This is business as normal. I expect everyone to turn up and do a full day's hard work as I would expect on any day of the week," he said.

As to other speculations that Etihad is not injecting money into Air Seychelles and the latter will soon have to end its merger with the UAE carrier in light of challenges faced by Alitalia and Air Berlin, Mr Kinnear replied: "Etihad remains a fully committed stakeholder. The management contract has been renewed for the second five-year contract period as communicated earlier in the year. What is going on elsewhere in the world, with other European stakeholders does not in any way reflect on the Etihad-Air Seychelles relationship."

Air Berlin and Alitalia, two of Etihad's high profile investments, both filed for insolvency earlier this year.

 

 

Concerning salary increase, Mr Kinnear had this to say: "Some staff have had salary increases, some departments have had salary increases. We have got an ongoing range of vacancies going on every week and every month for staff to apply for promotions."

"I'm a big believer in internal promotion. I like to see people apply for a job that is a higher grid, they earn more salaries out of it, take up more responsibilities and develop their skills sets as well," explained Mr Kinnear.

 

He also stated that staff cannot remain in one job for an infinite period and expect to receive salary increments for the same type of work they have been doing for 10, 20 or even 30 years.

"In that way you are not rewarding for performance or productivity" but rather for longevity, which according to Mr Kinnear is no way to run a business.

 

Air Seychelles staff therefore have to distinguish themselves among their peers and perform to their utmost capacity to receive performance-related increments.

However, the airline's management will be exploring options for their low-salaried, shift-based employees.

When asked about the way forward now that these issues have been brought to their attention, Mr Kinnear guaranteed his staff that every single item raised during the debriefing session will be reviewed by the company.

 

"Sometimes comments are misinterpreted, sometimes they are made out of context and sometimes they are very valid. There will be a mix of things that will need addressing and there will be a mix of things that may have been borne out of confusion or misinterpretation. We now have to work with the staff and managers, and communicate to the staff to help understand what actions are to be taken," added Mr Kinnear.

 

The department of employment is expected to hand over an official report to the management of Air Seychelles and conduct a follow-up visit early next year.

The accompanying photographs show the minister and her team interacting with staff as well as a debriefing session with the airline's chief executive and his managerial team.