Ethiopian Airlines Fires 21 Trainee Cabin Crewmembers

AddisFortune: Ethiopian Airlines (ET) terminated the employment of 21 trainee cabin crew members last week, following an evaluation of their performance.

The trainees were restricted from going on any flights in a letter given to them two weeks ago that was signed by Genet Tadesse, supervisor of cabin crewmembers at he airline. A week later they received official letters informing them that their contracts had been terminated.

In the past, trainees had to remain temporary cabin crewmembers for at least two years, after which the management would conduct performance evaluations to determine who would become permanent staff, according to the cabin crew training manual.

Ethiopian airlines
Ethiopian airlines

Outside of its normal practice, ET started evaluating all cabin crew trainees in February 2011.

The airline has the right to ask trainees with poor performances to repeat the training for a maximum of four months and afterwards to dismiss those performing poorly, according to the manual.

However, some trainees felt they were wrongfully evaluated.

“I only served for about six months but was evaluated, against the procedure,” a crew member told Fortune on condition of anonymity two weeks ago after being fired from the airline.

The evaluation is conducted on criteria including the number of flights missed without a reason, punctuality, and the number of complaints made by customers or by the airline, according to sources in ET.

Claims by some crewmembers that the evaluation is unfair have created resentment among employees.

“I do not understand the methods of the evaluation,” a trainee who passed the evaluation told Fortune. “I don’t know why I was reinstated permanently as I have the same record.”

The evaluation was conducted because the number of missed flights by crewmembers and absentees had increased, according to sources at the airline who were not authorised to comment.

“I was only late once but my employment was terminated,” one of the former trainees told Fortune.

The airline’s labour union, of which the trainees are not members, has expressed intent to try to negotiate with the management informally, while some dismissed members said they are considering legal recourse.

As of December 31, 2010, the total number of cabin crewmembers stood at 670, 12pc of the total employees of the airline.

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