The Tunisian government said on Monday it has sacked Olfa El Hamdi, executive director of Tunisian Airlines, amid a deep financial crisis for the company and after a dispute with the powerful Tunisian Labor Union.
The dismissal came after harsh criticism from the Labor Union against Al-Hamdi, that it was not qualified to reform the company, which suffers from great financial difficulties, and that its chairmanship of the national carrier aims only to sell it.
In turn, Al-Hamdi published on her page on the social networking site “Facebook” yesterday, Sunday, a blog that caused great controversy, in which she criticized the Secretary-General of the Union, Noureddine Taboubi, describing him as “the wrong man, in the right place.”
Al-Hamdi wrote: “Days after assuming the chairmanship of the board of directors of Tunisian Airlines, I received a letter from Mr. Noureddine Al-Taboubi requesting an advance on the information of the association’s employees’ involvement, and the cost of this advance is estimated at billions.
“How does Mr. Taboubi claim his intention to save Al-Ghazaleh when he was the first to request money from a sick institution in a critical situation? Is Mr. Noureddine Taboubi’s prejudice towards me related to this decision I have taken?” Asked the executive director of Tunisian Airlines.
On Friday, hundreds of company employees protested and threatened a general strike due to the absence of an immediate reform program, and the freezing of the company’s bank accounts by the Turkish company TAV. The account freeze was lifted at a later time.
The Tunisian government, the syndicate, and foreign lenders all agree on the need to implement urgent reforms to state-owned Tunisian Airlines. The airline’s employee-to-aircraft ratio is the highest among airlines in the world.
The company, whose fleet does not exceed 28 aircraft, of which 15 are currently in operation, has about eight thousand employees.
The UGTT opposes any reform plan that includes privatizing the company, and says it wants reforms to boost its profitability.
Source: Reuters + RT