Groundforce and union fail to agree terms for workers

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Groundforce representatives and officers from the Union of Airport Handling Technicians have failed to reach agreement on measures to limit the effect of the company’s decision to close its Faro base from January 1.

They met on November 22 to discuss the future of the workers, who were dismissed via email on November 10.

A spokesman from Groundforce told the Algarve Resident: “The decision to close our Faro operation was extremely difficult and was only decided after a long and exhausting consideration of all options available.

“It has become mandatory to ensure and prove the viability of the company, as our licence to operate in 2011 was under threat, endangering the remaining 2,000 employees.”

Of the 15 couples employed at Faro who were originally going to be dismissed, the company has decided to keep one of the partners in employment. Groundforce has also decided to keep the jobs of seven pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding, making a total of 22 staff who will be transferred to other bases and TAP positions.

The company will also offer the opportunity for workers dismissed to apply for positions in other companies within the TAP group.

Compensation equivalent to 1.15 months for each year of service has been offered to affected employees, who will also be offered support in seeking and obtaining outplacement over a period of four months.

According to Groundforce, proposals presented by the Union of Airport Handling Technicians would not have gone “beyond savings of between €2 and €2.5 million”.

But the President of the Union of Airport Handling Technicians, André Teives, said that this statement does not correspond to the reality of facts.

“Our proposal was that 21 workers were included in pension and early retirement programmes and 50 mutual contract resignations which would save €3.1 million. In addition, we wanted 100 people transferred to other bases to save a further €4 million.”

André Teives also said that the union’s ideal would be the retention of the Faro base but with 165 workers dismissed instead of the 336. 

“Groundforce considered this was not possible, saying that for the Faro base to work properly it should have at least 220 people.”

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]