NCCU pleads with Mutorwa to block hiring of foreign pilots

21 Aug 2018 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 AUG (NAMPA) – The Namibia Cabin Crew Union (NCCU) has called on Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa to block Air Namibia from hiring expatriates at the expense of local pilots, claiming there are enough skills locally.
This follows the decision by the national airliner to hire foreign pilots, amid claims that there is a shortage of pilots for the types of aircrafts the airline uses.
Briefing the media on Tuesday, NCCU’s acting president and secretary-general Willem Christiaans called for Mutorwa’s immediate intervention in the matter.
“We are pleading with the minister to step in and stop this whole process that Air Namibia is busy with,” said Christiaans.
He also urged all key stakeholders to have a roundtable discussion to chart a future for Air Namibia that is cost effective and sustainable in the long run.
“Things are now getting out of control. We have a lot of Namibians who can fill those positions. But what is the reason that Air Namibia is not empowering them into those positions?” asked Christiaans.
Local daily The Namibian on Tuesday reported that Air Namibia was using a foreign company, Orionway to recruit foreign pilots to be paid anything between 5 000 euros (N.dollars 83 000) and 9 000 euros (N.dollars 149 400) monthly.
These figures, according to the union, are unsustainable and shocking.
“We were highly shocked when we were informed that our national airline management wants to employ foreign pilots on this salary scale tax free,” said Christiaans.
The union furthermore stressed that the required skills can be found locally, something Air Namibia denies.
“While we are training our local pilots, we need these skills now. If they are not available locally, we have to import them on an ad hoc basis,” Air Namibia’s spokesperson Paul Nakawa was quoted by the newspaper.
NCCU questions this stance, asking whether or not a skills audit has been done to this effect.
The union also claims that there is no understudy plan in place at the airline to ensure that the expats are replaced with Namibian pilots.
“We do currently have foreign pilots in our airline, yet the management has no plan in place to ensure that a Namibian pilot takes over once the contract expires,” it said.