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CAL workers underpaid and unhappy

Tuesday, March 14 2017

A SURVEY conducted by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) last February revealed that 67 percent of its workers do not believe the State-owned airline can return to profitability.

The data in this survey was disclosed by CAL Human Resources Vice President Hyacinth Guy in response to questions from members of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on State Enterprises yesterday at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre. JSC chairman, Independent Senator David Small, wondered whether salaries and compensation attributed to such a high level of dissatisfaction expressed by the majority of the airline’s workers.

Without quoting figures, Small observed, “The average salary for the pilots is well within the range of even some of the larger airlines.” According to Small, “The disparity is the front line staff.” Focusing particularly on flight attendants, Small said the information suggested that CAL flight attendants are “paid a fraction” of what their counterparts in other airlines are paid. Guy admitted that, “Salary levels in CAL are not at the market level.” As she explained that the airline is, “challenged as an organisation,” Guy indicated, “The ranges have been in place since 2010.” She said the airline’s pilots re-negotiated their contracts in 2014 and have a collective agreement which runs up 2018.

Guy reiterated that while CAL is challenges with respect to other categories of its workers, it has implemented a “robust performance and evaluation system.” She said this has allowed, “employees since 2015 to get a merit increase based on performance.” Guy explained that while the official retirement age at CAL is 60 years, pilots can work up to 65.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark suggested part of the reason why so many CAL workers are unhappy is because most of them are not unionised.

Mark added CAL’s pilots have a labour representative.



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