Cameroon Airlines workers to go on strike

Running into a storm. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Employees of Cameroon’s national carrier say they will down their tools on Monday and ground all its flights unless their grievances are addressed.

Some 22 workers have already recently resigned from Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Camair-Co), which has been fraught with managerial problems since it began operations on March 28, last year.

In a notice addressed to the Regional Inspectorate of Labour for the Littoral Region, staff representatives demand the payment, by December 17 at the latest, of salaries for the “13th month”- a package some corporations usually offer employees at year’s end in Cameroon.

They also demand the payment of bonuses and want lasting solutions to concerns raised in a memorandum that was sent to Prime Minister Philemon Yang, who is the chair of the corporation’s board.

Staff representatives claim Camair-Co workers say they were increasingly finding it difficult to come to terms with the contempt with which their management treats them whenever they make requests for solutions to the problems plaguing the company.

Born out of the ashes of its defunct predecessor, Camair, the new carrier has been wading in debt.

Train staff

Camair-Co was created in 2006 following the collapse of the first national carrier due to insolvency, corruption and government’s inability to pay for services offered it, but only started operations in 2011.

Even President Paul Biya has been forced to intervene, by ordering the ministry of Finance to make $7.9 million aid package available.

But many think the carrier, which says it will be adding two Boeing 787s to its fleet, was already crashing.

Sources say the amount cannot cover the debts which the Transport ministry has described as "gross".

The air transport company recorded a deficit of $17.9 million during its first year of operation.

It had received $63 million from government to set up the corporation, to train staff and Cameroonian pilots.

But it was only able to raise $29.9 million in the first 12 months, far below the much expected amount