Last minute end to pilots’ strike

FOLLOWING A decision by the Portuguese Civil Aviation Pilots Union to call off a strike at the last minute TAP Portugal was unable to overturn the cancelling of six of its scheduled flights.

Without revealing its losses from Monday’s strike action, the only day in which the strike actually took place, TAP spokesman António Monteiro justified having to cancel the six flights after the vast majority of passengers had been offered places on alternative airlines.

Throughout Thursday the union, Sindicato dos Pilotos da Aviação Civil – SPAC, declared that it would continue with its strike in reply to the government’s “refusal to be available to discuss key issues.”

These included changing the value of pensions and other specifics relating to a pilots profession.

Three hours later, in a joint statement from the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication and Social Security, Ministérios das Obras Publicas, Transportes e Comunica coes e do Trabalho e da Solidariedade Social, with the prior agreement of SPAC, it was announced that the strike had been called off at around 10.30pm. The reasons given: “the various parties reached an agreement whereby the negotiation process could proceed.”

Friday afternoon was to have seen a further strike at Lisbon airport grounding TAP flights and cancelling the operations of baggage handling company Groundforce Portugal.

Between 3pm and 5.30pm on Friday certain staff members and union representatives discussed the possibility of taking eventual strike action over: overtime, shifts, and salaries.

During the two hour meeting baggage check-in, collection and transport and loading services to planes were severely held up.

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