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ATCL layoff letters ready any time now3

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Risk taker, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. R

    Risk taker Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    Joined: Jan 20, 2009
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    ATCL layoff letters ready any time now
    Air Tanzania Company Ltd workers and their management have finally ended weeks of negotiations over plans to retrench more than half the national flag carrier’s workforce.
    The management is now putting final touches to the computation of terminal benefits for workers to be laid off, The Guardian has reliably learnt.
    ATCL chief executive officer William Haji and Communication and Transport Workers Union (Cotwu) national deputy secretary general Buhar Semvua confirmed in separate interviews yesterday that the standoff over the layoff plans was finally over.
    The workers and their management were deadlocked over plans to offload over half the company’s staff, but yesterday Haji said agreement had been reached.
    Termination of service letters and the would-be retrenches’ benefits were being prepared, he added.
    “However, we cannot issue the letters without following laid down procedures. You must note that these people were employed on permanent contracts and have benefits which must be considered in the entire exercise,” elaborated the CEO, when asked when they would be through with the exercise.
    “We want to satisfy ourselves that everybody gets what he or she deserves. We also need to carefully identify all the workers to be laid off. All these call for care and time,” he explained.
    Cotwu’s Semvua said it was true that a series of negotiations between representatives of the trade union and the ATCL management had been concluded.
    “We have reached agreement on various issues, including the validity and legitimacy of the (retrenchment) exercise and the modalities of implementing it,” he added.
    After over a week of dead silence, CEO Haji recently confirmed exclusive reports published by The Guardian about plans by the firm to retrench at least half of its workforce.
    He was forced to react on earlier reports reaching this paper that 181 ATCL workers lined up for retrenchment would likely be issued with termination of service letters on October 8.
    In a statement, his first official response to media inquiries since The Guardian broke the news about the retrenchment plans, Haji said the issuance of the letters wasn’t possible “because the management and representatives of the trade union (Cotwu) are still finalising deliberations on a few important things that are still pending”.
    The cash-strapped airline currently operates only two Dash-8 Bombardiers but it is understood to have a 337-strong workforce. Its other two planes - a Boeing 737 and a leased 150-seater Airbus (A320) - are undergoing mandatory ‘C’ check maintenance in Mozambique and France, respectively.
    The state-run airline is surviving on government subsidy, and sources say the downsizing of the workforce was the least painful way to save on unnecessary expenditure and help it possibly run off life support.
    The exercise was earlier planned for October 1 but the company’s top officials and trade union representatives were still locked in vigorous negotiations.
    In January this year, the government rescued ATCL from financial doldrums with the disbursement of a second bailout package to the tune of 4.5bn/-.
    The firm has experienced a series of problems since its marriage with “strategic investor” South African Airline (SAA) collapsed in 2006.
    The problems included the December 8, 2008 decision by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to revoke the new-look airline’s Air Operating Certificate over faulty documentation.
    TCAA imposed the ban after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) threatened to rate Tanzania as not airworthy.
    The airline fulfilled TCAA’s requirements three weeks later (December 30) and its planes were allowed to start flying again. However, financial difficulties made it impossible for the flights to actually resume.
    ATCL, formerly Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC), was established in March 1977 after the collapse of East African Airways and other regional institutions previously under the ill-fated first-phase East African Community.
    ATC was taken over by SAA in 2002 and renamed ATCL, before the government reclaimed all its shares in the firm four years later.