Nicole Kidman urged to cut ties with UAE airline Etihad over alleged rights abuses

"Etihad is a regressive company that seeks to return our industry to its darkest ages," American union charges.

April 7, 2015 20:53
1 minute read.

Nicole Kidman Etihad ad

Nicole Kidman Etihad ad

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the largest independent flight attendant union in the US has called on Nicole Kidman to back out of an advertising campaign for Etihad Airlines due to its "abhorrent labor policies" for women.  

In an open letter last week to Kidman, National President of the APFA Laura Glading said the actress's efforts to advance women’s rights around the world as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador are at "odds with your prominent role in an advertising campaign for Etihad Airways."

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"The United Arab Emirates and their airlines are well-known in our industry for their discriminatory labor practices and deplorable treatment of female employees," Glading wrote.

State owned Etihad is the second largest airline in the emirate.  

In the letter, Glading cites a Wall Street Journal report that lists some of the alleged abuses of Etihad including that the airline “may fire women if they become pregnant” and forces flight attendants to live in “confinement” in secure compounds.

"Etihad is a regressive company that seeks to return our industry to its darkest ages," the letter charged.

The APFA also attacked the UAE's rights record in the letter. "Sadly, Etihad’s abhorrent labor policies are hardly surprising when one considers the fact that the airline is wholly owned by the UAE, a country where the only thing that is being 'stepped up' for women and girls is the level of abuse." 

Responding to the allegations of abuse, Etihad said in a statement that its commitment to the "welfare, safety, and well-being of the diverse group of men and women who have worked so hard to make Etihad Airways great is one of our airline’s top priorities," the Arabian Business news outlet reported.

Responding specifically to the mistreatment of pregnant employees, Etihad said it "fully supports its cabin crew during and after their pregnancy". 

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