MANAMA (AFP) – Gulf Air trade unions on Sunday alleged the struggling Bahrain-owned carrier is planning to dismiss 272 workers within three months as part of a restructuring plan.
“The company plans to fire 272 Bahraini and foreign workers by the end of October. We have (copies) of (dismissal) letters sent to some employees and names of those targetted by the company’s redundancy plan,” the union’s deputy chief Ghazi al-Murbati told AFP.
Gulf Air’s new chief executive officer, Samer al-Majali, appointed last month, has stated in a letter to employees that “previous administrations have failed to achieve a comprehensive restructuring” of the company, Murbati said.
The union official said a plan to sack employees in foreign locations has already started.
Gulf Air chairman, Talal al-Zain, however, denied claims of redundancy plans, saying that “there was no intention to sack any employee in the company’s new strategy,” Al-Watan daily reported on Sunday.
Gulf Air was set up in 1974 by Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. It has been exclusively owned by Bahrain since May 2007.
The company is estimated to have around 30 aircraft, and has plans to modernise its fleet.
Its chairman said in March that it was planning to add 13 new aircraft to its fleet before the end of the year through leasing and buying new planes.
In January 2008, Gulf Air said it signed a deal to buy 16 Boeing-787 Dreamliner with the option to buy eight others in a deal worth four billion dollars, while it ordered 35 Airbus medium and long-haul aircraft worth five billion dollars in May of the same year.