By Andy Sambidge
Union leaders say they want packages to be revised upwards after closure of Bahrain Air
Union leaders have reportedly rejected improved redundancy packages offered by Bahrain's Gulf Air.
According to the Gulf Daily News, the Gulf Air Trade Union said it had turned down an offer that would see staff laid off receive 30 days' salary for every year they had worked, in addition to a bonus payout and another three months' salary.
Spokesman Mohammad Mahdi told the paper that the new deal, brokered by Labour Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossery, fell short of the two months' pay for each year's service and BD5,000 bonus that the union was looking for.
Mahdi was quoted as saying: "We didn't only refuse that deal, but the whole restructuring process - and for good reason.
"A lot has changed since the restructuring plan was formed. For instance, the closure of Bahrain Air - our only competitor - and the recent reports that the Bahrain economy is stabilising.
"We have called for a major update of the plan bearing in mind all the new variables."
The loss-making Bahraini flag-carrier has suffered due to strong competition from nearby Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, and cut eight non-performing routes last year
Gulf Air is now focusing on Middle East and North African routes, as well as providing a limited number of routes to selected European and Asian markets.
Last month, it was reported that more than 1,200 staff could lose their jobs as part of a major restructuring process at Bahrain's Gulf Air.
Union leaders claimed that 1,266 staff from Gulf Air will be made redundant as part of the plan.
Under former CEO Samer Majali, who left Gulf Air at the end of the year, the airline had already revised its orders with Boeing and Airbus in a bid to save roughly US$2.5bn.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
The stabilized economy & the closure of Bahrain Air will not affect the financial performance of Gulf Air. Competition is coming from other gulf airlines & the operating cost is too high. In the past and generally in the Arab region, everybody is expecting the governments to subsidize government owned losing businesses & it is time that this culture changes. I donâ€™t even believe that Qatar Airways & Etihad are making money! Even Emirates profits are going down. Fares have gone down and operational costs have gone up tremendously! The culture must change! Bahrain is not an oil producing company & prestige is no longer an objective. Businesses must either make money or close down! What the employees of Gulf Air are getting is in addition to their Social Security benefits! What more do they want?