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Employees at Royal Falcon Airlines demanding overdue salaries

By Sawsan Tabazah - Jan 10,2017 - Last updated at Jan 10,2017

AMMAN — A total of 120 employees have lost their jobs at the Royal Falcon Airlines and have not been paid five months of overdue salaries, according to a trade union representative. 

The airline stopped its operations last August due to a six-month licence suspension by the Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission. 

The president of the General Trade Union of Workers in Air Transportation and Tourism, Yousef Qannab, said on Tuesday that the union asked the Ministry of Labour to mediate between the workers and the company’s management to resolve the issue, but the ministry refused.

“The ministry replied that this [wages] problem does not constitute a labour dispute between the union and the company, and that [former] employees will have to sue the company individually,” Qannab told The Jordan Times. 

Royal Falcon operated services in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. 

Ehab Ajlouni, an employee, said that he and 20 of his colleagues registered a complaint with the Wages Authority at the ministry in early December, but they are still awaiting a response.

The airline, which was set up in 2007, was a successful business, until its Iraqi investor saddled it with large debts, Qannab claimed, adding that the current financial status is bleak. 

Mahmoud Radaideh, a flight attendant who lost his job, said many of his colleagues are suing the company for over a year’s worth of unpaid salaries.

“He [the owner] used to send the flight attendants on [extra] operations to umra [in Saudi Arabia] and to Turkey from his home in Najaf in Iraq, all for his own tourism company,” Radaideh charged. 

Ajlouni also stressed that the problem is not only with overdue salaries. Employees’ wages are also tied up in the Iraqi investor’s tourism company, and employees have savings in the company’s savings fund. 

The employees have tried to contact the administration to get what they were owed, but each time all they received were promises that are yet to become a reality, Radaideh added. 

The now-redundant employees said a grace period given to the company to rectify its status ends on February 16, after which its aviation licence might be withdrawn. 

 

Ajlouni noted that the airline is owned by the Iraqi investor, who has a 49 per cent share, a Jordanian investor with 40 per cent and the Royal Jordanian Air Force with 11 per cent. 

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