772041
File picture: Passengers stand in line at the Caribbean Airlines domestic counter to go to Tobago at Piarco International Airport in September 2017.

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.