Low-cost carrier dubs union’s demands “unworkable”
Cabin crew at easyJet have begun strike action today, also planned for May 28 and 30 and June 1 and 3, accusing management of “precariousness and discrimination” against staff in Portugal, compared to other countries.
In a statement issued on May 11, SNPVAC – the National Civil Aviation Flight Staff Union (SNPVAC) – said easyJet continues to consider crew members at its Portuguese bases as “lesser workers”, perpetuating their “precariousness and discrimination in relation to colleagues from other countries.”
According to the union, “the climate of tension and displeasure and the long impasse in the resolution of various labour disputes” has led to this latest action.
The strike will cover “all flights performed by easyJet” as well as other services that require cabin crew members, whose “presentation hours occur in national territory starting at a minute past midnight and ending at midnight on each of the days” mentioned.
“The proposed changes to pecuniary benefits already previously presented by the company remain if not worse, far below the threshold of what is acceptable to ensure decent work for cabin crew members”, the structure indicates, adding that “easyJet remains ‘deaf’ to the economic difficulties experienced by its crew members, due to their low incomes, in face of the recognised increase in the cost of living, “which asphyxiates workers and jeopardises the well-being and comfort of their families”.
The union once again highlighted that “in other countries and bases where the company has a lower level of profitability than in Portugal, colleagues obtained significant increases (…) the climate of tension and discontent due to the long and intolerable impasse in the resolution of the various labour disputes has worsened, leading to the conclusion that easyJet’s ultimate aim is to indefinitely extend the position adopted.”
The union considers that, given the existence of alternatives, particularly on flights to the Azores and Madeira, “there are no minimum services to be ensured”.
EasyJet has said it is “extremely disappointed” with the call for strike action, “guaranteeing that the union’s current proposal is unworkable”, says Lusa.
A statement from the airline maintains “what we pay our workers is above the national average wage” (which currently stands at €760 per month)
“We will do everything possible to mitigate the impact it may have on our customers, including making changes to flights ahead of the strike,” the company added, stressing that “customers whose flights are affected will be directly contacted via SMS or email, using the details provided at the time of booking.”
EasyJet also stressed that all customers whose flights are cancelled “are eligible for a refund or free change to a new flight”.
In SNPVAC’s last statement, on May 19, the union pointed out that easyJet has reacted to its strike notices, “to proceed with massive flight cancellations: of the 458 original flights leaving its Portuguese bases in Lisbon, Porto and Faro, the airline has previously cancelled 384 flights, or 84% of the planned flights”.
Source material: LUSA