The Cayman Airways Tampa Station is to have its customer service function outsourced as of 1 November.
A press release from the airline notes that it will fall in line with the operational models of other CAL gateways being outsourced.
The Cayman Airways passenger functions in Jamaica, New York, and Havana are outsourced, with one full time CAL employee serving as station manager, the release noted.
Cayman Airways CEO Designate Olson Anderson said that outsourcing the passenger service function at the Tampa station makes good business sense at this particular time.
He added that the Cayman and Miami stations will continue to have full time Cayman Airways staff because the frequency of flights supports it.
Mr. Anderson confirmed that Airport Services International Group will become the service provider for Cayman Airways in Tampa, and has offered employment opportunities to the Tampa employees. A meeting was held recently with all Tampa employees.
But the handling of the outsourcing situation has not sat well with all employees.
Cayman Airways customer service agent Bob Holland, in emails to both Cayman Airways and the Caymanian Compass on 13 and 14 October, outlined his disapproval of how the situation was dealt with.
‘The Tampa employees are outraged over the treatment of Tampa Supervisor Mary Ellen Lee,’ he said.
While the station manager is to stay on with Cayman Airways in his post in Tampa, Mr. Holland said he believed that Mrs. Lee should have been kept on also by the airline because of her loyalty to Cayman Airways and her experience in customer service and administration at the Tampa station. He called it ‘an outrageous and heartless move’.
Mr. Holland’s employment with Cayman Airways was unexpectedly terminated on Thursday, 16 October, just days after sending the emails to CAL and the press. Mr. Holland said he was given no reason for the termination.
Mrs. Lee, although she had been at the Tampa station for 17 years, had only been working directly for Cayman Airways since 2002, and in two more years under CAL she believed she could have retired with flying benefits for her and her husband for the rest of their lives.
She is now to take up her same position under ASIG but will not receive her flying benefits in two years.
She would not have received a retirement plan under Cayman Airways as the agents had been considered casual workers and did not qualify for benefits of full-time employees.
Mr. Holland said he felt the outsourcing may have come about because he had been continually pressing the issue of the Tampa agents being considered as ‘casual’ workers with Cayman Airways and he wanted to see them eligible for benefits such as travel, vacation and retirement plans.
Cayman Airways declined to comment on these issues.
Asked if the level of customer service will diminish in an outsourcing arrangement, Mr. Anderson said, ‘Absolutely not’.
‘Cayman Airways has had a strong relationship with ASIG in Tampa since the start of service to that gateway in the 1980s, and we assure staff and customers that the same look and feel of the Cayman Airways brand will be maintained in Tampa, as well as our commitment to superior customer service, during and after the seamless transition,’ said Mr. Anderson.