Pilots union calls off TAP strike

 In News, TAP

The union that represents Portugal’s civil aviation pilots has decided to call off a strike that would have plunged the national carrier TAP into renewed turmoil as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

SPAC (Union of Civil Aviation Pilots) had announced intentions to strike over cuts in pilots’s pay as a result of a major restructuring programme forced on it by Brussels in return for State capital injections of around €2Bn.
In a statement SPAC states: “The pilots of TAP SA, with a full sense of responsibility towards taxpayers and passengers, despite being forced to finance a Restructuring Plan wrongly imposed on the company that is responsible for the overwhelming majority of the revenue of the TAP group, resolved in the Company Assembly and approved by 92% of the approximately 700 pilots who participated, not to go on strike, because they do not want to agree with the already demonstrated intention of using them as a scapegoat for the failures in the company’s recovery plan”.
SPAC recalled that the pilots “signed a Temporary Emergency Agreement (ATE), in force since March 2021, to protect jobs when there was no operation, demonstrating their full availability to make the company viable”.
“Still, TAP SA pilots were subject to collective dismissal, despite the 50% pay cut they were subjected to, while the remaining TAP group workers were only subjected to a 25% cut”.
According to the SPAC, TAP “does not comply with the ATE” and “assigns assistance periods to pilots within the limit of the monthly flight hours ceilings”.
According to the union, the airline “disrespects the time off regime provided for in the Company Agreement” and “repeatedly disrespects clauses regulating the distribution of work”.
TAP “intends to unilaterally amend the ATE signed in good faith between the pilots and the company and, recently, it does not even comply with the Law in a Rule of Law, prohibiting pilots from meeting in plenary”, added the SPAC.
If the strike had come ahead it would have marked a summer of misery for travellers and business commuters after cabin crew at Ryanair voted to strike, Portway baggage handlers went on strike for two days, and in the UK British Airways staff went on strike over variously better working conditions, and the payment of extraordinary hours.
Above all, the TAP strike would have called into question its €3.2Bn restructuring programme, as well as putting the airline’s recovery at risk at a time when It is facing “accelerated return of business, a summer with a congested airport (Lisbon), the galloping price of jet fuel, lack of available crew members, and flight cancellations and delays”.
TAP’s pilots say they were considering strike action because the reduction by 10% in salary cuts was not sufficient.
SAPC argued that the company’s decision to reduce pilots pay cuts by ‘so little’ (from the pilots’ perspective) has been seen as “provocation”. Pilots talk of “corporate terrorism” and have even suggested management is trying to prompt a strike in order to “cover up its own shortcomings”.