Caribbean Airlines considers staff cuts

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Caribbean Airlines considers staff cuts

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http://radiojamaicanewsonline.com/busin ... staff-cuts

CAL considers staff cuts
Mon May 17, 2021

Months after instituting layoffs and wage reductions, regional carrier, Caribbean Airlines is now considering reducing staff. It is also offering Voluntary Early Retirement Plans.

Trinidad's Newsday newspaper says in an email sent by Caribbean Airlines' management, workers were told that given the company's financial situation, it has no choice but take action.

The e-mail also asked staff earning less than TT$20,000 monthly to accept a further five per cent salary reduction.

They had up to Friday to respond.

Caribbean Airlines CEO Garvin Madera announced that the initial step in the staff reduction would be the offer of Voluntary Early Retirement Plans.

The e-mail said while the plan is in currently in motion, other cost-cutting measures needed to be implemented such as lay-offs and further salary cuts.

The latest salary cuts will take effect from June 16 to the end of the year.

In September last year Caribbean Airlines introduced cost-cutting measures.

They included salary reductions for eight months, lay-offs for one third of employees for three months, reducing contractors and temporary workers and cancelling allowances that were no longer relevant.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Aviation Communication and Allied Workers' Union in Trinidad and Tobago, Peter Farmer, says the union was against the extension of lay-offs.

Farmer says the union suggested that Caribbean Airlines put staff on rotation instead.

He also said that Caribbean Airlines employees in Jamaica are currently being rotated and questioned why that was not being done in Trinidad and Tobago.
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https://newsday.co.tt/2021/06/21/cal-to ... ructuring/

CAL to cut 450 staff as part of restructuring
PAULA LINDO
2021/06/21

STATE airline Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) has announced it will streamline its operations for 2021 and beyond, after a decline in revenue and a loss in the first quarter of 2021.

It said 25 per cent of its workforce, approximately 450 people, is surplus to its needs and will be laid off.

It will also reduce the number of jets in its fleet.

In a release on Monday, CAL said the company will start consultation with its employees and other stakeholders on dealing with its surplus labour situation.

It said while the announcement that TT’s borders may soon reopen is welcome news, all forecasts suggested air travel will not resume at the same level as pre-covid.

So, it said, “Until air travel regains its pre-covid momentum the airline will need to adjust its operations to cater for a reduced scale of demand after the opening of the borders. Put simply, passenger demand in the short to medium term is not going to recover sufficiently to support the existing company structure after the reopening of the borders.

“As a consequence, Caribbean Airlines is required to take further steps to ensure it has a sustainable business model for 2021 and beyond.

"These steps include major cost reductions in all areas of the airline's operations, specifically its human resource complement, its fleet and other assets, and its route network."AS well as cutting the number of aircraft it will also reduce its route network.

CAL’s unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021 showed a loss of $172.7 million (US$25.7 million) and a 75 per cent decline in revenue, compared to the same period in 2020.

The airline said these losses follow a similar downturn in 2020, which saw an operating loss of $738 million (US$109.2 million) compared to operating profits for 2018 and 2019.

Since the beginning of the covid19 pandemic and the suspension of operations at its base in TT, the airline has seen passenger numbers plummet, and flight numbers reduced to less than ten per cent of normal operations.

The airline said despite this, it continued to offer services on many of its routes and provided invaluable repatriation flights for Caribbean citizens. It said, given the financial impact of the pandemic, CAL proactively reduced costs, and Q1 2021 expenses are down 52 per cent compared to the same period in 2020. Further, the airline was kept afloat through a government-guaranteed loan and a cash injection by the government totalling US$100 million.

CAL said its passenger and cargo services continue to operate, with all the latest flight details available on www.caribbean-airlines.com.

The airline thanked its customers for their continued support.
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https://simpleflying.com/caribbean-airlines-fleet-cuts/

Caribbean Airlines Set To Cut Fleet And Workforce
Pranjal Pande
June 22, 2021

Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines is planning a major restructuring as the pandemic decimates revenues. The carrier is planning to cut its workforce by 25% and reduce its 17-strong fleet. The decision comes on the back of another major loss for the airline, forcing long-term changes. Let’s find out more.

Reducing

According to Newsroom, Caribbean Airlines is planning a major shake-up in the wake of weak first-quarter results. The airline, which is the flag carrier of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana, saw its revenues fall by a massive 75% during Q1 of 2021. This resulted in a loss of TT$172.7mn ($25.4 million) for the quarter, aided by steep cost cuts made in the last year.

However, Caribbean Airlines is now preparing for its post-pandemic new normal. To this end, the carrier will cut around 450 jobs, which represent 25% of its overall workforce. Several planes could be also be leaving the fleet, although the exact number remains unknown. Moreover, the carrier’s route map could be shrinking too, as it looks to exit unprofitable markets.

In a statement about the upcoming restructuring, the airline said,

“These steps include major cost reductions in all areas of the airline’s operations, specifically its human resource complement, its fleet and other assets, and its route network…Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of operations at its base in Trinidad and Tobago, the airline has seen passenger numbers plummet, and flight numbers reduced to less than 10% of normal operation.”

Fleet down

Caribbean Airlines operates a fleet of 17 aircraft, consisting of seven ATR 72s and 10 Boeing 737-800s, according to ch-aviation. While the turboprops make short-haul journeys between neighboring islands, the 737s are responsible for short- and medium-haul routes to the US, Canada, and other popular destinations in the US.

Currently, four planes remain parked, three 737s and one ATR 72s. These are some of the oldest in the fleet, the narrowbodies being over 21 years old and the ATR almost 10 years old. These four aircraft could be the ones returning to lessors, although more details are yet to emerge.

Not coming back

Even though Caribbean Airlines has expressed support for Trinidad and Tobago’s decision to reopen its border, it doesn’t expect to see aviation traffic bounce back to pre-pandemic levels in the short term. This is in line with estimates from other experts, who only expect to see travel reach 2019 traffic by 2024 for international flights.

For the Caribbean region, air traffic is critical for social and economic reasons. If tourists don’t return, job losses and shutdowns in the tourism industry will continue to mount. However, as borders begin to reopen, there seems to be a chance at a modest recovery in the coming months and years.
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https://www3.cnc3.co.tt/retrenchment-fe ... ion-today/

Retrenchment fears affect CAL workers; to meet with union today
Carisa Lee
June 21, 2021

Employees of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) are expected to meet with representatives from the Aviation Communication and Allied Workers Union (ACAWU) at 10 am today to get some clarity on their job situations following CAL’s announcement yesterday that 25 per cent or 450 of it’s employees with be laid-off.

Exactly who or what set of workers are to be placed on the chopping block was not revealed but the news has left some workers anxious and heartbroken.

“You’re a bit confused apart from the whole COVID situation being lockdown whole weekend, and now you get this news early Monday morning” one employee who wanted to remain anonymous said.

“I felt very disappointed and saddened by the fact that so many workers really on the breadline for sure now,” another one told Guardian Media.

Some have been furlough for close to a year but according to one employee the possibility of not working for the airline again was a lot to take in.

She said, however, she was not surprised.

“I was truly expecting it because after the last press conference where the minister said they have no money to assist with CAL, some of us really knew what was going to happen. I’ve been very down actually just seeing it, saddened by the fact that it’s actually here,” she said.

Last week Minister of Finance Colm imbert said CAL must become efficient when the borders reopen.

Another employee said it was expected because it has been happening all around the world.

In September last year Singapore Airlines Group cut about 4,300 positions and in February of this year Philippine Airlines retrenched 2,300 workers all due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

But there are also reports of airlines rehiring retrenched staff as many more people are flying. It’s the opposite to what the company said would happen when the borders reopen.

In the press release the airline said forecasts suggest that the recommencement of travel will not be in the same volumes as they were pre-COVID.

But some employees agreed with the international trend and said CAL moved too hastily.

“They should have waited a little bit more, see what the demand is like. To do it now is something that I think is a bit premature. People may want to travel and we won’t have the capacity,” he explained.

“I feel very sad, especially for the ones who have been working a long time,” the employee said.
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https://stluciatimes.com/caribbean-airl ... es-plunge/

Caribbean Airlines Plans Cost Cuts As Revenues Plunge
June 21, 2021

Caribbean Airlines today announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021, recording a loss of TT$172.7m (US$25.7m) and a 75% decline in revenue, compared to the same period in 2020.

The losses follow a similar downturn in 2020, which saw an operating loss of TT$738m (US$109.2m) compared to operating profits for 2018 and 2019.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of operations at its base in Trinidad and Tobago, the airline has seen passenger numbers plummet, and flight numbers reduced to less than 10% of normal operations.

Despite this, the airline continued to offer services on many of its routes and provided invaluable repatriation flights for Caribbean citizens.

Given the financial impact of the pandemic, Caribbean Airlines proactively reduced costs, and Q1 2021 expenses are down 52% compared to the same period in 2020.

Further, the airline was kept afloat through a government guaranteed loan and a cash injection by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago totalling US$100 million.

The announcement that the borders of Trinidad and Tobago may soon reopen is welcome news, but all forecasts suggest that the recommencement of travel will not be in the same volumes as they were pre-COVID.

Therefore, until air travel regains its pre-COVID momentum the airline will need to adjust its operations to cater for a reduced scale of demand after the opening of the borders.

Put simply, passenger demand in the short to medium term is not going to recover sufficiently to support the existing company structure after the reopening of the borders.

As a consequence, Caribbean Airlines is required to take further steps to ensure it has a sustainable business model for 2021 and beyond.

These steps include major cost reductions in all areas of the airline‘s operations, specifically its human resource complement, its fleet and other assets, and its route network.

As part of the streamlining strategy, the number of jets in the fleet will be reduced, for the time being, over the course of 2021.

Its route network will also be adjusted to reflect the changing market.

In terms of employees, the airline has determined that 25% of its workforce or about 450 positions throughout its network is surplus to its current needs.

The Company will embark on consultation with the employees and other stakeholders, with respect to treating with this surplus labour situation.

Caribbean Airlines passenger and cargo services continue to operate, with all the latest flight details available on www.caribbean–airlines.com.

The airline thanks its valued customers for their continued support.
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https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/bus ... sses-mount

Axe drops on 450 CAL workers as regional airline’s losses mount
June 23, 2021

There is no letting up of the financial turbulence pummelling regional carrier Caribbean Airlines Limited, CAL, which this week reported continued financial haemorrhaging, with a first-quarter loss of TT$172.7 million (US$25.7 million).

The loss is just below its average TT$184.5-million (US$27.3 million) quarterly loss last year that ended with a year-end fallout of TT$738 million (US$109.2 million).

In the face of the constant flow of pandemic-induced red ink, CAL has embarked on another round of cost-cutting, taking the axe to 450 workers in cuts that are permanent, unlike last year’s temporary lay-offs.

In a statement, CAL said the cuts were across its global network, but didn’t say how many of what category of staff were affected. No effective date was given for the redundancies, which follow temporary lay-offs last year and represent a reversal of the airline’s initial application of what was said to have been Trinidad & Tobago government policy of keeping staff on the payrolls of state entities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline is majority-owned by the Trinidad government, with Jamaica as minority partner.

The airline said the action was a necessary response to a 90 per cent falloff in business, 75 per cent decline in revenue, and as part of a continued reining in of costs, which it said had been contained to 52 per cent of first-quarter 2020 levels.

“The airline was kept afloat through a government-guaranteed loan and a cash injection by the government of Trinidad and Tobago totalling US$100 million,” CAL management said in the statement issued on Monday.

The statement made no mention of the outcome of negotiations for “external funding” in which the airline’s management was said to have been involved up to February this year. At the time, CAL’s head of corporate communications, Dionne Ligoure, said the source and amount of the financing being sought could not be disclosed because of the sensitive nature of the talks and due to competition considerations.

The Trinidadian government said in May last year that it had guaranteed a loan of US$65 million for the airline after it was unable to pay expenses, including salaries, as the airline’s revenues dried up amid the collapse of the global travel market. The government had disclosed a year earlier that it was servicing a US$75-million debt for the airline.

Whereas the airline was mandated last year by its majority shareholder to keep staff in place, leases up-to-date, and all systems at the ready for a full resumption of global air travel, loss-making fatigue appears to have worn down that position.

This week, CAL said it was shedding some of its fleet and other assets, but did not spell out the non-aircraft assets to be disposed of or the manner of the disposal. It also stopped short of saying how many of its leased aircraft were being surrendered or what routes would be affected by the reduced fleet, much of which is understood to have been parked at its Piarco airport base in Trinidad for most of last year as borders were closed. Trinidad remains closed to incoming passengers.

“Passenger demand in the short to medium term is not going to recover sufficiently to support the existing company structure after the reopening of the borders. As a consequence, Caribbean Airlines is required to take further steps to ensure it has a sustainable business model for 2021 and beyond,” the airlines said in explanation of its latest actions.

The 25 per cent of the workforce being sent home through redundancies, is said to constitute labour that is “surplus” to the current needs of the airline.

After years of loss-making, CAL had started to turn a profit in 2019 on the back of revenue of TT$3 billion, or US$440 million, for the year, but by March of the following year, losses were in the region of US$14 million a month.

Up to press time, CAL officials had not responded to questions seeking further details of its cost- cutting and first-quarter financials.

Its current troubles square with the trend worldwide that has seen airlines descending into losses due to locked borders and decline in travel. Some carriers have muscled through aided by huge government bailout packages, including loans, loan guarantees, subsidies and unemployment grants for displaced workers, while some have folded.

Intra-regional airline, LIAT, which mainly services the eastern Caribbean, collapsed last year, brought down by the weight of debts amounting to some US$80 million in unpaid salaries to staff and another US$100 million owed to creditors.

Some shareholding countries have refused to recertify LIAT for operation in their countries, preferring the permanent wind-up of the loss-maker and possibly starting a new island-hopping airline business.
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https://izzso.com/cal-employees-to-meet-with-union/

CAL employees to meet with union
Klysha Best
22 June, 2021

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.”
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https://www3.cnc3.co.tt/close-to-1000-c ... sentation/

Close to 1,000 CAL workers may be without union representation
Sharlene Rampersad
June 24, 2021

Close to 1,000 Caribbean Airlines (CAL) employees who belong to the Aviation Communication and Allied Workers Union (ACAWU) may be forced to negotiate on their own behalf if the company decides to send them home during its retrenchment exercise.

But the union says it’s no fault of theirs. ACAWU’s secretary general, Peter Farmer told Guardian Media yesterday the company is not meeting and treating with the union as a recognised majority union (RMU) since it began operating in 2007.

Farmer said the workers, who have been paying their union dues, sometimes in person, are now scared about what their future may now hold.

In 2017, the Industrial Court found CAL was a successor of BWIA and ruled that unions that held recognised majority status under BWIA should be recognised by CAL.

The airline has since appealed the decision.

But Farmer said while that matter drags on, the employees are finding themselves in the line of fire.

“The whole thing is whether they are a successor company, they are taking a position that they are not a successor company, the Industrial Court has said that they are a successor company,” Farmer said.

In 2007, the Communication, Transport and General Workers’ Union filed a matter against the BWIA West Indies Airways Limited and Caribbean Airlines Limited in the Industrial Court.

The union was seeking a declaration that CAL was the successor employer to BWIA and its certificates of recognition were valid, among other things.

In its ruling, the court found that CAL was indeed the successor employer to BWIA and it had conducted the same operations as BWIA, in the same way with the same category of workers as did BWIA.

The court also found that there was substantial continuity of the business enterprise of BWIA by CAL.

“We further find that the successor employer, CAL, cannot rid itself of a Recognised Majority Union by asserting that there is no existing collective agreement and that the employees who were represented by the Union are no longer employed with BWIA,” the Court found.

Yesterday, Farmer said that judgment opened the door for the recognition of the other recognised majority unions to retain their status.

However, CAL has appealed the decision and a judgment on that appeal is still pending.

Farmer said the union intends to write to CAL to request a meeting to discuss the planned retrenchment exercise, in which the company said it will send home 25 per cent or 450 of its staff.

Farmer said ACAWU is prepared to file an Industrial Relations Offence if CAL refuses to meet with them to negotiate on their members’ behalf.

“All of these things don’t auger well for them and I trust that in due course, they will recognise that. And if they don’t, that the court will underline that was their duty to so do, as they say, you can run but you can’t hide. Let’s see what the court says and if justice is to prevail.”

Guardian Media asked CAL’s corporate communications manager Dionne Ligoure about how the negotiation process will be carried out with employees who do not fall under the RMU, the T&T Airline Pilots Association (TTALPA.)

“In the event that a retrenchment exercise has to be implemented, this will be based on the applicable law in each jurisdiction. In most jurisdictions Caribbean Airlines must give formal notice in writing of retrenchment to the following: 1. Each worker. 2. The recognised majority union. 3. The minister of labour,” Ligoure said.

Guardian Media contacted Labour Minister Stephen Mc Clashie, to ask whether the company had sent any correspondence relating to the retrenchment exercise to him.

He said up until Wednesday, he had received no such document from CAL.

Mc Clashie also said that in relation to ACAWU, the union was advised to go to the Industrial Court to file for successorship so they can get their RMU status.

When he was told the matter was already adjudicated and CAL had appealed the judgment, Mc Clashie said, “If they appealed the decision, the union has not gotten the right to successorship until the courts pronounce on it and therefore the company is under no obligation in law, they cannot insist that the company recognise them as such.”
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Re: Caribbean Airlines considers staff cuts

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"In 2017, the Industrial Court found CAL was a successor of BWIA and ruled that unions that held recognised majority status under BWIA should be recognised by CAL.

The airline has since appealed the decision.

But Farmer said while that matter drags on, the employees are finding themselves in the line of fire."


Justice delayed is justice denied.

Why do we in the Caribbean put up with paying lawyers for decades to have a simple matter decided?
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