Friday, January 4, 2013

■ ANGOLA: TAAG in for tough times as air crews go on strike and hefty layoffs loom.

TAAG logo
The precarious financial situation at TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola (DT), is about to bring the company to a difficult juncture as aircrews embarked on a strike Thursday 3 January 2013 over demands for better salaries, life and health insurance, medical aid for both them and their families locally and abroad as well as training of technicians. Pimentel Araújo, the CEO of  TAAG, has called for direct talks, an offer spurned by the flight crews union.

TAAG Employees
TAAG employees (angolaxyami)
According to the Angolan news agency ANGOP, the crews are demanding a written response from TAAG management as opposed to direct talks, which Araújo said, was not practical given the nature of their demands, "some of which are easy to settle and others more difficult, but which could be resolved through dialogue."

However, the coordinator of the flight crew's union, Comissão dos Oficiais Operadores de Voo (COOV), Santos Leite, said the strike was declared as a result of the TAAG board's silence, given that the flight crews' claims were submitted on August 9, 2012.
"Given the silence of the Board (of Directors), and that a set time for negotiations has been pushed back continuously, a move seen by the COOV as a sign of total disrespect and bad faith on the part of the Board of TAAG, the COOV has decided to strike on Day 3 of the current month, starting 00h01L," he said.
Source [AngoNotícias]

TAAG shortlived new livery
TAAG's shortlived new livery (RoyalKing)
Amongst the 'difficult issues' at stake are demands for a 100 to 300 percent salary increase, which the CEO considers "unthinkable", in view of the company's current financial situation. The TAAG board did instead, offer to review the crews' salaries at a global level, rather than at flight operation level alone.

While negotiations over pay go on, the carrier has made it known that will have to cut its bloated workforce as part of efforts to return to profitability. In 2007, the placing of TAAG on the EU Black list is said to have cost the company USD200million in losses alone.

In an interview with ATWOnline in December, Jacinto Junior, TAAG Angola Airlines international relations and commercial agreements director, said that while TAAG had reduced its staff in recent years from 6'000 to around 3'500, it needed to be cut down to 2'600-2'800.
As the company grows and we bring in more aircraft, we may end up with around 3,000 because of the extra pilots and technicians,” said Junior. “We are not profitable, but we could be. We need time to get a return on investment. We hope to be able to break even in three years.
Source [ATWOnline]