Air Seychelles, the island nation’s national carrier, is cutting 174 of its staff as the airline undergoes restructuring, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports, and Marine told the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The announcement drew a rebuke from leaders in the National Assembly, who said the cuts must be put on hold, as well as complaints from an official with the workers union.
Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said that the restructuring will allow Air Seychelles to become a sustainable company in the fiercely competitive aviation industry.
“The labour force will be reduced and 202 posts will be affected. These will include 174 employees who will lose their jobs and 28 vacant posts which will not be filled,” said the Minister.
The airline currently has over 800 staff across 13 departments. Cabin crewmembers will be the most affected in the downsizing. Only four departments of the company will not be affected, including the ground handling service.
Loustau-Lalanne explained that meetings in each department where staff will be affected have already been held.
“It is regrettable that Air Seychelles has to reduce its commercial and operational activities which are affecting many jobs. But this will help to save the national airline,” he added.
“Together with its partner Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles will concentrate on reducing its costs of operation, ensure it covers its expenses and make profits. It will also aim to maintain its title as leading airline in the Indian Ocean as well as improving its service with a Creole spirit,” said the minister.
Loustau-Lalanne said the airline will be concentrating in areas where there are advantages for it and where profits can be made. “These include ground handling, cargo handling, domestic operations as well as regional service to Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Mauritius and South Africa.”
The minister said that all established labour laws were respected during the process to downsize the company. He said that all affected staff will be paid all their dues and compensations.
After the statement, both leaders in the National Assembly – Wavel Ramkalawan, Leader of the Opposition, and Charles Decomarmond, Leader for Government Business – rejected the statement and demanded that the exercise be put on hold.