Caribbean Airlines.

CARIBBEAN Airlines (CAL) has begun discussions with the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) on making the transition easier for 42 Jamaicans who are among employees whose jobs are to be made redundant.

The move follows the airline’s confirmation that its unaudited financial results for the six months ending June 2021 reflected depressed market conditions, with an operating loss of TT$326.6 million (US$48 million), which was consistent with the same period for 2020 when it reported an operating loss of TT$331 million (US$48.7million).

BITU Vice-President Rudolph Thomas confirmed yesterday that the airline has been in consultations with the union, which represents maintenance workers – technicians, engineers, and senior engineers — as well as the cabin crew, comprising flight attendants and pursers.

“CAL’s management has communicated a need to realign its operations, which they have indicated was made necessary by the impact of the pandemic and the need to ensure capacity matches the reduced passenger demand,” Thomas said.

The airline, he said, pointed out that flights out of Kingston have been reduced from an average of 17 per month pre-COVID-19 to 11 per month, while total monthly flights were reduced from 136 to 58.

“As a result, about eight of 23 maintenance workers and about 34 of 84 cabin crew members, including cabin crew, were served notices that they will be retrenched on August 30. However, the redundancy will take effect on September 10 for most persons who are entitled to six weeks’ notice, and about August 28 for a few workers who had joined in 2014 and would only be entitled to four weeks’ notice pay.

“There is also a smaller group of 16 cabin crew members who will be retained under a special temporary layoff proposed by the BITU to address any growth opportunities which may arise, and to treat with an operational uptick which is projected for the first quarter of 2022,” he added.