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Etihad Cabin Crew Told to Drop Lawsuit or be Evicted from Company Accommodation

Etihad Cabin Crew Told to Drop Lawsuit or be Evicted from Company Accommodation

Etihad Will Be Holding Cabin Crew Recruitment Events in London, Manchester and Dublin in January 2019

Approximately 200 ex-Etihad Airways cabin crew have allegedly been told to drop an unfair dismissal lawsuit they recently filed in an Abu Dhabi court against the airline or be evicted from company-provided accommodation. The redundant cabin crew were laid-off in the last few weeks as the company seeks to downsize because of the Corona crisis but have been allowed to remain in Abu Dhabi until lockdown restrictions are eased and repatriation flights can be arranged for them to return home.

The group of foreign expat cabin crew have allegedly filed an unfair dismissal claim because Etihad has so far failed to explain the criteria that were used to decide who would be made redundant. Hundreds of cabin crew have already been laid off and insiders claim more redundancies are to follow in the coming weeks.

While Etihad acknowledges that cabin crew, pilots and other staffers have been made redundant because of the “unprecedented challenges” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline has so far declined to say exactly how many employees have been laid off.

During an online meeting with the 200 ex-cabin crew, Etihad representatives had sought to reach an “amicable decision” where it was highlighted that company provided accommodation was an additional benefit that they did not have to provide under the UAE’s labour laws.

Sources claim the crew members have been asked to provide proof that they have dropped their case in order to receive the original settlement order, including the right to remain in company provided accommodation – a common perk for expat cabin crew in the Persian Gulf.

If the crew members proceed with their claim, any subsequent legal case could take between six months to a year to be heard.

As of August 2019, Etihad had 20,500 employees, including nearly 5,000 cabin crew and 2,184 pilots. The vast majority of Etihad’s Abu Dhabi-based workers are expat foreign workers and their right to remain in the UAE is tied to an employment visa. Etihad has agreed to extend visas for laid-off employees until repatriation flights can be arranged.

Etihad plans to have resumed services to as many as 58 destinations by August, dependent on the further easing of lockdown measures and border restrictions. Residents and citizens of the UAE are now allowed to travel freely to and from Abu Dhabi but tourists remain banned from entering the emirate.

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