There are reports that the Aviation Communication and Allied Workers Union (ACAWU) is set to meet with employees of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) at 10 am today, following CAL’s shocking report that 25 per cent or 450 of it’s employees will be laid-off.
Secretary-General of ACAWU, Peter Farmer said the union had no knowledge of the plan to retrench workers before the media release was issued on Monday.
Speaking to GML, he said “What they are trying to do is to speak to workers individually, again, that is, in my opinion, to hoodwink the workers and perhaps steal their money as they have been doing in the past,” Farmer said.
He said with the company’s statements speaking of a reduction in its fleet, he could only surmise that this means pilots and flight attendants would be among the first to go.
Farmer, who said ACAWU has not been recognised by CAL, accused management of only seeking their own interest as he said the pay cuts implemented last year were not done fairly.
Farmer said he believes the “invisible” impact of CAL’s operations should be carefully considered before any move to scale down its operations takes place.
He added, “They (Government) are just looking at it from what they charge to operate, in terms of the passenger fares and the cargo charges but they are not looking at it from the invisible income in terms of what people spend when they come into Trinidad and how that may balance off the cost of the airline itself and how some of this money keeps the economy afloat.”
The T&T Airline Pilots Association (TTALPA), which represents about 200 pilots with Caribbean Airlines, said it too learnt of CAL’s intention to lay off 450 of its staff via the media release yesterday.
Its executive administrator, Shelly Sadaphal said, “We have as much information as the public has from the media release. The only additional information that we have is that they intend to reach out to TTALPA later this week to discuss any further intentions with us, being the recognised majority union for the pilots.”