Namibia: Air Namibia Cuts Salaries By 50 Percent

(File photo).
30 September 2020

Air Namibia has cut in half the salaries of cabin crew members, pilots and ground staff who have stayed home since the airline stopped commercial flights in March.

The 50% salary cuts, which are as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, will be in effect for three months with effect from September until November.

The only employees exempted from the cuts are domestic route pilots and cabin crew as well as the airline's management. It is not clear if the board of directors has also waived its fees.

The president of the Namibian Cabin Crew Union, Reginald Kock, says the airline's employees have not agreed to the salary cuts.

"Our union did not agree. I am quite confident that the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union and Namibia Airline Pilots Association did not agree as well," said Kock.

He accused the management of not clearly explaining the reason behind the salary cuts.

"Is the cut because the company is in a financial crisis and not making money or is the cut because we didn't work? If the answer is because we didn't work then my counter answer to that would be, I am not working because of the situation.

"It is not my decision not to work. There is a principle when you strike of no work no pay, but we are not in a strike situation here. We are in a situation that has affected the world around," said Kock.

In a memo to employees, the airline's interim managing director, Theo Mberirua, notified staff members the loss-making airline needs to conceive means to guarantee its survival during challenging times, which he said had been worsened by the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Apart from funding and liquidity challenges, the fixed cost (aircraft leases, maintenance cost, salaries, fuel) including the fact that fixed cost far exceeds the revenue generated over the same period. This negatively affected the cash flow base of the airline, to the extent that continued domestic operations are jeopardised," he said.

Mberirua also said a plan to restart operations was heavily impacted by a lack of funds to pay critical creditors, including salaries.

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