Royal Air Maroc: Press Reveals Terms of Deal Ending Pilots’ Strike

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Rabat – Details have emerged of the deal RAM and its pilots agreed to on Tuesday to end a month-long crisis that paralyzed the company’s activities.

But while both Royal Air Maroc (RAM) management and the National Trade Union of Moroccan Pilots (AMPL) offered vague statements about the terms of their “landmark” crisis recovery agreement, the press have published details of the August 14 agreement.

Flawed management

“RAM’s traditional markets are fragile and under threat,” read the preamble to the “historic” agreement. According to the document, the company’s flawed management philosophy and ineffective PR and sales strategies have hindered its dreams of prominence for 20 years.

In what appears to be constructive self-criticism, the document criticized the company’s reckless borrowing and unproductive spending, factors that did not gain costumers’ trust, build a good international reputation, or ultimately fulfill RAM’s hope of “being among the world’s better-equipped and best performing” airlines.

Reversing these “structural dysfunctions” is essential for the company to bounce back from the pilots’ strike and capitalize on existing strength, the agreement suggested.

It added that pilots’ concerns and demands will be given more weight than before, because gaining pilots’ full support and adhesion to the company’s long-term plans is the surest way to “achieve peaceful and sustainable growth.”

Shifting focus

Pilots formally expressed their concerns July 18 about RAM’s “unbearable” and “unreasonable” working conditions. They argued that reopening Morocco’s RAM-funded flight training school closed in 2014 should be a priority if the company wants to recruit more pilots and reach its goals of capacity expansion and customer satisfaction.

According to the deal, though, “the training school is no longer a priority” for the short or medium term. Instead, “recruitment needs will continue to be satisfied through partnerships with foreign training institutions.”

While it did overtly state it, the agreement appears to suggest that RAM will focus on recuperation efforts in the immediate aftermath of the financially detrimental crisis.

The expansion dream is still a priority, but rather than inflexibly expanding the company’s fleets, RAM and AMPL agreed to set their sights on recuperation efforts, focusing on customer satisfaction and upgrading performance with current personnel and equipment.

Although the agreement is chiefly concerned with “looking forward” and “achieving” RAM’s goals, it brought a new focus for the short and medium term: to meet pilots’ demands and extend partnerships with foreign training schools.

“AMPL and RAM have agreed to grant pilots four days off monthly” in addition to the traditional two days off weekly, the agreement said, hinting at RAM’s concession to pilots’ demands for more resting time.

But in addition to extended holidays, the agreement also mentioned a pay raise and a grant to pay a third of pilots’ training fees. Based on seniority and competence, pilots and copilots’ monthly salaries will see an increase of MAD 3,000 to 5,175.

The agreement terms for the training grant are set to come into force on October 1, but the pay raise will start on November 1.

To ensure that all the points in the agreement are satisfactorily met, the two parties also decided to set up a joint appraisal committee. The committee “will meet once a year upon request from either party” to assess the effectiveness of implementation of the deal.