The repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic were quickly perceived by the Royal Air Maroc (RAM), which cried “bankruptcy” from the start of the pandemic in the Kingdom. A bailout deal has been struck with the state, and “redundancy” figures prominently as one of the solutions to be implemented.
The “redundancy” is certainly legitimate in these times of financial crisis, and the RAM has decided to use it by separating more than 800 employees including 150 pilots. The decision was taken at the meeting, boycotted by union representatives, especially those of the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT) as well as by representatives of the pilots.
According to a well-informed source, this economic layoff program includes the abandonment of 880 jobs to save the company from bankruptcy due to the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis which are expected to continue in over the next three years.
The absence of UMT and pilot representatives from this meeting angered RAM management, who deliberately documented the decisions made at this meeting through judicial officials.
The RAM thus denounced in a letter, the “irresponsible behavior of the representatives of the pilots and of the union representatives”, stressing that “the presence of the partners could open a social dialogue which could have avoided the recourse to dismissals for economic reasons, but which remain legal in the current circumstances”.
In view of this situation, the source of Hespress specifies that “the meeting saw the passage to the act as regards the redundancy, which is an essential step to save the company”, while a first phase has experienced voluntary departure which received around 150 applications, including 40 pilots, who meet the required conditions.
It should be recalled that the government of Saad Eddine El Othmani had granted 6 billion dirhams to save RAM from bankruptcy, due to the suspension of air traffic following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not about “free” state aid, but a well-defined agreement.
Indeed, the government granted this aid to the airline in the form of a loan with interest, as indicated by an official source. Thus, “45% of the 600 billion centimes will be in the form of loans guaranteed by the State”. The RAM, continues our source, “will therefore reimburse this loan over the next few years and the interest that goes with it”.
In addition, the state should also guarantee the company a loan of 2.6 billion dirhams from Moroccan banks, “including a portion in foreign currency from international institutions”. This is the second part of this rescue plan which includes direct financial aid amounting to 3.4 billion dirhams. “But the government has yet to decide how to grant it to the company, and it won’t spend in one lump sum in 2020,” he said.