OMBUDSMAN SYSTEM: We are VERY concerned with the situation of TAAG’s workers

Speaking to the press after a meeting with the Ombudsman, Florbela Araújo, he said that, currently, the number of workers at the Angolan airline is made up of national employees, with a total of 99.7 percent, and only 0.3 percent of expatriates.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of TAAG, Ana Major said that there have been many questions around the process of restructuring the company, a process that she has not yet started. She clarified that the improvement of the carrier is underway, based on the context in which the entire reform will be carried out.

“Until now we have been in a phase of surviving, stopping bleeding, so that we can bring in revenue for the restructuring process”, he stressed, adding that the difficult context and history of TAAG, aggravated by Covid-19, makes sure that the company to continue and be a legacy for the next generations.

He acknowledged the legitimacy of workers being concerned about jobs, due to the remodeling, and reassured: “what we have been doing is communicating more and being closer to the workforce so that all the steps planned can convey the resolution of concerns” .

She reaffirmed that what has been happening on social media regarding the TAAG logo is not true. She exemplified the case of the Boeing 777 that made the flight during the inauguration ceremony of the President and Vice-President of the Republic.

She added that these planes are not TAAG’s, but were leased to replace aircraft that are undergoing maintenance: “They have nothing to do with our fleet. They are temporarily serving us, and serving us well, because otherwise we would be accumulating unnecessary losses.”

She also said that in due course the Government will have the privatization of TAAG in its plans, admitting that no one would invest the way it is. “We need to work on valuing the airline, so that it can be privatized. Even if it is privatized, I do not believe that the State will sell all the capital. It will always be a partial sale, but that is not us from the administration, but the government”.

With regard to TAAG’s relationship with the workers’ unions, he informed that an agreement was signed for longevity, security, solidity of exchange, and not precarious situations of any solution that may be implemented. “We won’t be able to do anything without the union on our side and working with us”.

Serenity of the workers

The Justice Department requested the meeting within the scope of the duty of cooperation stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Angola and the Statute of the Ombudsman, due to the issues raised by citizens, the insecurity they feel, motivated by the reorganization plan of TAAG.

From the explanations received, Florbela Araújo appealed for calm and serenity, because it is a process of transformation that is intended, so that TAAG comes out of the “abyss”, accentuated by the damage caused by the pandemic (Covid-19), and manages to to stand shoulder to shoulder with other African civil aviation companies.

Florbela Araújo informed that this issue of workers will be dealt with gradually. According to the provider, some say they are being fired, in a process in which others are not employees.

She acknowledged, on the other hand, that there are former employees who have a contract, but because they are of retirement age, they have been treated with sensitivity and giving possibilities to others.She said that she also received information that there are not many expatriates: “They also described other situations and it is not justified to have some delegations in other countries that only harm TAAG and most of them with foreign workers with very high salaries”.

The Ombudsman stressed that she is satisfied with the explanations given by the TAAG management. “When someone comes to get rid of addictions, that person is not good (for the injured). Therefore, we encourage you to continue on this path, because, as Angolans, we want TAAG to be as big as our country, Angola”, she reinforced.

The meeting is the result of complaints about various situations related to the rights of users and TAAG services, whose degree of cooperation with the Ombudsman in these matters is far from desirable.

In addition to the concern regarding the degree of cooperation with the Ombudsman, other issues were highlighted, in particular satisfaction with the services provided, information on possible dismissals of national workers for the benefit of expatriates, as well as the exercise of freedom of association and workers’ right to information.

The Ombudsman’s Office deems it necessary to develop mechanisms for greater collaboration within the institutions, safeguarding the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens, users of TAAG services and workers.

Florbela Araújo suggested that there be greater cooperation, designation of focal points, improvement of services to be provided in customer service, punctuality of flights and their regularity.

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