Authority confirms reduced working hours

The Samoa Airport Authority [S.A.A.] has confirmed reducing its staff working hours by 50 per cent effective 26 October.

S.A.A. Chief Executive Officer, Silimana’i Ueta Solomona, early this week refused to confirm that the authority reduced the working hours of its workers by 50 per cent when contacted by the Samoa Observer.

But an employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper that their working hours had been reduced and the management should instead consider cutting back other expenses such as the Tiavea airport project.

However, in a statement issued through the Savali newspaper, the S.A.A. management said that it has implemented a 50 per cent reduction of its staff working hours.

“It has been determined that a 50 per cent reduction to staff working hours (80hrs –40hrs) is the most viable option to ensuring it remains afloat during these unprecedented times and continue to provide support to our staff.”

From 80 hours of work prior to the lockdown, workers at the S.A.A will now work for 40 hours a fortnight.

In the statement, the S.A.A. said the decision was not taken lightly by the management and the board of directors. 

Since April and when the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, the S.A.A. said the welfare of its employees had been at the forefront of its concern.

“We have also been up front and transparent with them, throughout this time and have provided ample notice and assistance to aid with the transition,” S.A.A said in the statement.

“Unfortunately, we have exhausted all means to retain full staff capacity and this decision, however lamentable, is the preferred option over mass redundancies and permanent lay-offs.

“Our optimistic view is that operations will return to normal and when it does, we will welcome the opportunity to return our staff to their designated roles in service to Samoa!”

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