VICTORIA – AIR SEYCHELLES is laying off 174 workers as it undergoes restructuring, according to the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports, and Marine.

However, MAURICE LOUSTAU-LALANNE has received opposition in the National Assembly: which has ordered a halt to the exercise, amid complaints from labour unions.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE has tried to defend the move saying will allow the national flag carrier to become a sustainable company in the fiercely competitive aviation industry.

He says the airliner has plans to remain with 202 employees after laying of the other 174 and leaving 28 vacant posts unfilled.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE says AIR SEYCHELLES currently has more than 800 staff members across the 13 departments.

Air Seychelles and Cabin Crew (Pic. SNA)

The Cabin crew will be the most affected in the downsizing, which aims to spare only FOUR departments of the company, including the ground handling service.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE, a BRITISH-trained Civil Aviation expert, says they have already meetings with targeted workers to explain the planned exercise.

He says AIR SEYCHELLES regrets the reduction of commercial and operational activities and the many affected jobs, but the move will help to save the national airliner.

Partnering ETIHAD AIRWAYS, AIR SEYCHELLES will work to reduce operation costs and make profits; so as to remain the leading airliner in the INDIAN Ocean and improve service with a CREOLE spirit.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE says the company will concentrate on areas where there are advantages for it and where it can make profits.

The areas include ground handling, cargo handling, domestic operations, as well as regional services to ABU DHABI, MUMBAI, MAURITIUS, and SOUTH AFRICA.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE has further tried to convince the lawmakers saying the State has observed all labour laws during the process to downsize the company, and all affected staff will get their dues and compensation.

However, both WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, Leader of the Opposition, and CHARLES DECOMARMOND, Leader of Government Business, have rejected the proposed exercise and ordered its suspension.

They have instructed Ministers LOUSTAU-LALANNE and the Minister of Employment to return to the National Assembly next TUESDAY, when they will submit a copy of the contract signed with ETIHAD AIRWAYS.

SEYCHELLES FEDERATION OF WORKERS UNIONS Official ANTOINE ROBINSON says the labour leaders have suggested voluntary retirements on SIX-month pay packages.

He says they have held a number of meetings with the Minister and AIR SEYCHELLES, who are insisting on a THREE-month pay package for each retrenched worker.

Mr ROBINSON also says the employers did not consult the workers, who they are simply forcing to accept whatever is being given to them.

An AIR SEYCHELLES staffer has told SNA what is happening is sad, considering the number of people losing their as well as their families who will also suffer greatly.

Minister LOUSTAU-LALANNE says the Tourism and Employment Ministries will help workers losing their jobs to find new employment in the hospitality industry.

The Minister says AIR SEYCHELLES, founded in 1977, will now be flying regionally on TWO Airbus A-320s and lease out another TWO Airbus A-330s to FIJI AIRLINES, with ETIHAD AIRWAYS taking ONE Airbus A-330./Sabanews/cam

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