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Vietnam Today

High pilot absenteeism at VNA

Released at: 14:24, 14/01/2015

High pilot absenteeism at VNA

Many pilots take sick leave without medical certificate, carrier says.

by Minh Tuyet

One hundred and seventeen pilots at Vietnam Airlines (VNA) called in sick during January, affecting eight flights a day, according to Mr. Pham Ngoc Minh, VNA’s President and CEO. Of the 117 pilots, only ten presented a medical certificate. Thirty pilots asked to resign during the month.

“This is not individual absences, but absence as a team,” Mr. Minh said. The situation will repeat itself if it’s not properly resolved, he emphasized.

However, VNA may be in breach of the Labor law if it denies the resignations. It has therefore asked aviation management agencies for assistance. A VNA representative said that there foreign airways must also cope with similar situations. Chinese airlines negotiated with the trade union and many pilots stayed.

“We have not increased pilot salaries because they asked us to,” Mr. Minh said. “The increases are part of a plan adopted seven years ago.” Under this plan the salaries of Vietnamese pilots were to be equal to 80 per cent of regional pilot salaries by July 2015.

The new salary regime at VNA takes effect this month. Captains of Boeing 777s will see their monthly salary rise from $7,630 to $9,502, while the salary of A321 captains will increase from $6,647 to $8,566. In the second half of this year salaries will stand at $10,157 and $7,395-$9,268, respectively. Foreign pilots earn around $10,000 - $12,000 per month.

VNA’s salary budget currently accounts for 8 per cent of its total spending, according to the VNA representative, compared to 12 per cent in regional countries. An Asiana Airlines pilot earns $10,500, by way of comparison, while Jetstar Singapore pays its pilots $12,633 a month.

Many technicians at VNA has also resigned and moved to Vietjet Air. One former technician said that his new salary was three times higher than he was paid at VNA.

Salaries have been a long-term issue, said Mr. Nguyen Bui Lam, Deputy Director of the Department of Human Resources Organization and Development at VNA. The matter can only be resolved when there is cooperation between unions and the State, he said.

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