Treg
Topic Author
Posts: 488
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Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:35 am

Slave market - so was Gulf Air recruitment process characterized in Estonian media.

Gulf Air has recently been very active in Estonia in order to find new flight attendants. The recruitment process ended with a large selection meeting, where all potential candidates were invited (around 500 of them). And as a very first thing, everyone who was married, had children, wear glasses or braces were automatically disqualified. Without even talking to them.

This has drawn a lot of attention in Estonia, as it is a purest form of discrimination (you cannot disqualify someone, because she is married or has children. The same thing about glasses - what this has to do with being a flight attendant??). Now the question is - do other carriers have some similar selection criteria? I have hard times to believe that any northern European carrier (like SAS or Finnair) has something like that. But maybe it is a normal selection procedure? What are your feelings about that?

Unfortunately the original articles are in Estonian, so there is no big point to give you the links  Big grin
 
Horus
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:39 am

Can you still give us the link to the article?
EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
 
cedarjet
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:42 am

What the hell are Gulf Air doing recruiting cabin crew in Estonia? For the same reason you didn't post links to the original articles, it can't be for their linguistic skills.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
babybus
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:44 am

I was told that on SV the F/A's get sacked if they get pregnant. It's in their contract apparently.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
SK973
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:52 am

Definately not that way in SAS!
In Sweden we have laws that protect employees against that kind of discrimination!
 
okko
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:31 am

...this could be well against the laws and practices in e.g. Northern Europe.

However, as airlines such as Emirates and Gulf Air need to employ a lot of foreigners, they definitely face the problem of high employee turnover - at least from what I have heard. Young people are attracted by the benefits and luxurious lifestyle in Middle East, but a lot of people stay just maybe a couple of years. Having a family or other committments in home country increases an individual employee's interest in going back home, sooner or later. Therefore, being married and having children certainly DOES have a lot to do with the selection.

To me the above-mentioned practices make full sense. Let's keep in mind that e.g. Gulf Air is not bound by the same laws as SAS, Finnair etc., nor should it be. For them foreign employees are certainly a big investment, and they do not want to see them returning immediately. One could call this discrimination, but maybe people could also be at least a bit grateful for the opportunities Emirates, Gulf Air etc. provide.

...and as for recruting people in Estonia. I'm not an expert of Estonia although it's close enough to Finland, but perhaps the availability of well-educated people who are able to speak min. 3 languages is one factor.

okko
 
Spike
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 11:25 am

It could also be because Estonia has a high percentage of busty blonde young women (v. popular eye candy in Middle East countries).
 
Ironminds
Posts: 519
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 12:24 pm

The fascinating thing is that all these gulf countries need to employ foreigners to do the work for them, and won't do it themselves...some interesting pathologies at work there that go a small way towards explaining the happiness being exported by that part of the world....
 
Russophile
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 12:41 pm

I really don't see what the problem is, because airlines around the world go, somewhat, by these same standards, except they don't publicise it under EEO legislation. At least Gulf Air is telling people up front  Smile
 
paulinbna
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 12:52 pm

I heard some where that Singapore Airlines makes their F/A hopefulls take a shower with all there cloths on to see if they look good when they are all wet.

Or is this a urban legend.
Canon 50D user; 100-400 MM L IS 10-22 MM, 60MM Macro
 
prosa
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:08 pm

Many years ago, flight attendants - then called stewardesses, of course - for most U.S. airlines had to be single.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
ltbewr
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:09 pm

To me this is a scam that has regrettably become common since the fall of the Soviet Union, upon Eastern European, Russia and ex-soviet Union countries, as well as many poor/3rd world countries, to recrute women for the sex trade in many areas of the world. Here we see a common form of this scam. The 'recruters' are not connected in any way with Gulf Air, but rather organized criminals (Russian mafia, etc.). These sick criminals go to areas with obscene unemployment rates (like here Estonia), with many desirable and attractive young women available and offer galmorous jobs (here flight attendant and related airline jobs with a recognised foreign airline) with great pay in Western Europe, USA, Asia, and other western countries. The 'recruters' pay for airline tickets, some clothes, visas fees as needed. When the women arrive in Germany, France, US or other such country, they are brought to a building, their id papers are stolen from them and told they are now in the sex trade, and if don't turn tricks, they will be beaten up or killed. In effect, these women are enslaved. On additional issue here is that some countries in the Middle East have many foreign workers, employing some of them illegally and treating them without any regard to human rights and are in a factual status of slavery.
 
hz747300
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:26 pm

My dad worked for Saudia for a little over 15 years and come to think of it, I don't ever recall seeing a pregnant flight attendant. So you might be right Babybus.
Keep on truckin'...
 
okko
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:27 pm

LTBEWR,

this is an interesting interpretation of the Gulf Air story above - well done! As for Estonia being poor/3rd world, I would have to disagree though. Maybe the economy is not yet on the level of Western Europe, that is true. I think their unemployement rate (5-10%) is relatively low...

Hey, I have a question: do you possibly forecast that US will get increased interest from these "recruiters" as USD is so low now? My account is in € so maybe I could come over and start my own business?

cheers
okko
 
dukebluedevil
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 2:20 pm

Being from the Middle East, there is one GLARING reason for the recruitment of Gulf Air in Estonia. Many people are not familiar with the Middle East, the the traditional values that vary from country to country.

Let's start with the "north." The two major carriers of the northern Middle Eastern countries would be MEA and Royal Jordanian. The daily culture and tradition of Lebanon and Jordan present an equality between men and women. This is reflected in the employment of Lebanese and Jordanian women on board the countries' respective national airlines. It is also quite often to see Lebanese and Jordanian flight attendants working on other foreign airlines that operate into Amman and Beirut.

In terms of the "south," more commonly known as the Gulf States, the situation is quite different. The societies there are much more conservative and it is seen as inappropriate for a woman to go and serve as flight attendant. Not only is this seen in the flight attendant industry, but it is quite often seen across the board (and I'm not saying there aren't any exceptions, I lived in Saudi Arabia for 6 years and encountered many female, Saudi professionals). Therefore, Gulf Air, Saudi Arabian, Emirates, Qatar Airways recruit for employment in various countries. When I lived in Riyadh and flew SV frequently, it seemed as though most of the F/A's were Asian, specifically Filipino. The women they recruit come from cultures where it is acceptable to present themselves in front of strangers without having to cover themselves. Also, the requirements that they have set (not married, no children, etc) minimize the obligation of the airline. The flight attendants are offered glamourous lifestyles in the Middle East, and this is expensive for the airlines. If the flight attendants had "baggage," costs would run high. Furthermore, if there is a family who currently resides in the Gulf, with the husband already under contract with any company, airlines would not mind hiring an ex-patriat living with her husband and children. Why? Because the airline only has to provide the flight attendant with her pay, as she already has her accomodations in the Middle East made for her.

In order to operate as a worldclass airline, Emirates, Saudi Arabian, Qatar Airways, and Gulf air all need to have recruitment efforts (similar to the ones in Estonia).

And for the by-the-by, LTBEWR, you could not be any more mistaken.
 
Treg
Topic Author
Posts: 488
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:55 pm

For those, who are interested:
The articles are at
http://www.postimees.ee/220304/esileht/siseuudised/129673.php
http://www.postimees.ee/220304/esileht/129672.php
http://www.postimees.ee/220304/esileht/arvamus/129638.php

Source: Estonian daily newspaper Postimees (not a yellow press)
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 5:08 pm

LTBEWR: Well, you have already been commented upon. Reality check? Have you ever been to Estonia? It's not exactly a seedy place like you seem to think. And it certainly isn't a third world country.

As for recruiting foreign women, so what? If they want to, let them. As long as the contracts are fair and they are treated well, who cares? Nobody forces them to sign. And if the societal mores in the Gulf States are different, that's life. I am sure that lots of these girls spend a few years working in the gulf, have a great adventure, then come back home or whatever.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
TransIsland
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 5:49 pm

this is an interesting interpretation of the Gulf Air story above - well done! As for Estonia being poor/3rd world, I would have to disagree though. Maybe the economy is not yet on the level of Western Europe, that is true. I think their unemployement rate (5-10%) is relatively low...

I think LTBEWR's interpretation sounds a bit too convenient and too stereotypical. As Okko points out, Estonia's unemployment rate is lower than Germany's! (Which is, btw, the reason I'm leaving Berlin in April to go back to Nassau - can't find a job.)

I guess I have to take Treg's word for the newspapers reputation, and I should trust them to be able to research a story like this one, ensuring that they really know that they're talking about an airline rather than about a bunch of sleazy pimps. I would also trust the Estonian candidates to be able to tell the difference.

Some of the point's Okko made in his first post make perfect sense. (I invest in an employee, I'd rather have them for working for me for a long time rather than just a season...) The rule about wearing glasses or braces may sound discriminatory to Western ears, but does not really surprise me when coming from an employer based in a country that most Westerners would call sexist- at least to a certain degree. (Please note that I am trying really hard not to pass judgement here.)

I know for a fact that many Western majors have certain rules about looks, even if they don't admit it. Yes, they do talk to the applicants first.... and then make up some sort of "professional" reason. A popular one with LH is that an applicants "English isn't good enough". (Listening to the announcements on LH, I know that English skills CAN'T be a priority in the selection process  Big grin)
I'm an aviation expert. I have Sky Juice for breakfast.
 
OV735
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Mon Mar 22, 2004 6:51 pm

LTBEWR,

I'm happy to invite you to visit Estonia, you might find it a rather nice place.

Anyway, I read the article when I was taking the train to work today, and I kind of understand Gulf Air's point of view in this. They invest a lot of money in these flight attendants, I've heard they live in a quite luxurious conditions during the training period. This would pretty much go to waste if the flight attendant gets pregnant, because that would mean she wouldn't be able to fly, after that she would have to stay home with her child for a while and all that.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that this is right. I believe in equality and I think that discrimination of any kind is wrong. But if a married Estonian woman becomes a flight attendant with Gulf Air, I'm pretty sure that at some point the marriage will hit the rocks. And the last thing Gulf Air needs is to have employees with bad family life, because, everything really starts from home. And if domestic things are going wrong, then it affects the performance of the employee and so on.

Therefore calling it a slave market I think is a little exaggeration. Gulf was just trying to find itself suitable workers, not to excercise slavery.

Regards,
OV735
 
mightyfalcon
Posts: 378
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:33 am

I've been living in the Middle East for 8+ years now and I have to concur with Duke here; local tradition and culture both play an important part in a company's decision for hiring foreign women.

On another side, the marital status definitely has an economical impact: most companies here not only have to pay wages but have to pay as well for the accommodation (the larger the family, the larger the accommodation and therefore, the more expensive), the school fees (horribly expensive here), the medical insurance and a yearly return ticket to the country of origin (annual leave) for the whole family. All these put together make a nice amount of money for the companies.

Regards
MightyFalcon
The sky has no limit...
 
Spike
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:45 am

I knew some Gulf Air stewadesses in Doha, and they were having a brilliant time. I remember it being a dream job for girls and I think it still is. I don't think the slave trade has much to do with GF.
 
ltbewr
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:47 am

I would like to apoligise for any offense - which I did not intend - toward Estonia, Gulf Air or toward any others in my post. While Estonia was a former Soviet Union state, it was independent before 1940 and since 1991. Estonia's unemployment rate per CIA Factbook website, was about 12% in 2001, very close to the rate of many EC countries. It has had and continues to have significant contacts with Finland, so is more similar to Finland, and northern European countries than Russia. Along with the adjacent 'Baltic States', Estonia is probably much better off than Russia or some other Eastern European states. I should have checked these facts first before my post.
Still, I would believe that Estonia, like many countries in that part of the world has been targeted by sex trade recrutiers. This is probably why the reaction in Estonia, and in that article, toward the recruiting 'specifications' of Gulf Air. I would also note the desire to possibly recruit women fluent in Russian as perhaps Gulf Air is anticipating demand for flights to Moscow, other Russian cities or eastern European countries and oil rich areas of Russia.
 
Ex_SQer
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RE: Gulf Air And "slave Market"

Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:54 am

I heard some where that Singapore Airlines makes their F/A hopefulls take a shower with all there cloths on to see if they look good when they are all wet.

Or is this a urban legend.


Urban legend.

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