“Spend more to save on people, not BMWs…”
SPAC, Portugal’s civil aviation pilots’ union has suggested that flag carrier TAP use the same “spend-more, to save” logic with which the company has defended its decision to splash out on a new fleet of BMW saloons, to restore the working conditions of its workers.
In a statement sent to members, to which Lusa has had access, SPAC quotes the proverb “it is not enough for Caesar’s wife to be serious, she has to appear serious” to criticise TAP’s choice.
“Following the rationale of the justification by those who chose to acquire vehicles at this sensitive time, based on a miraculous saving, we suggest the same logic of “spending more, to save” goes on restoring dignity to the workers”, reads the message.
At issue is the news advanced by TVI/CNN Portugal and the Away portal that TAP has ordered a new fleet of BMW cars for the board and management, replacing those of Peugeot.
In its statement, SPAC highlights that “while some have suffered brutal cuts in their salaries, when there are still redundancy proceedings underway and when the quality of life of others is being conditioned, at the same time, the car fleet for management positions is being renewed”, arguing that “for social peace to exist, the presence of social justice is imperative”.
In this context, the union considers that the “new attitude” towards “expenses” will have to include pilots, not just motorcars.
“If this does not happen we will be really surprised and will be forced to believe the hypothesis that TAP management either does not want to apply the financial surplus in the fair replacement of the workers’ working conditions, or there is no financial surplus and this fleet renewal was paid for with cuts in workers’ salaries,” the statement adds.
SPAC may be more than just “really surprised”. The union held a series of protests recently; the likelihood is that it is hoping for some sign of rapprochement.
Certainly, social media suggests everyday people are appalled. One recent tweet says: “António Costa has said that TAP will again be privatised and that we will all lose money with this operation, while 3 million euros is being taken from taxpayers’ pockets right now to buy 50 BMWs for the company’s bosses. This is playing with our money, and an outrage…”
TAP argues that the renewal of the fleet for the board and management allows for savings of 630,000 euros per year, justifying that the decision was based on this rationale “whilst complying with contracts”.
“The Executive Committee wishes to clarify that TAP has a corporate car fleet for the board and directors, under an operational ‘renting’ regime. With the option we took, we are saving up to 630,000 euros per year, if we had kept the cars we have today,” said TAP in its internal statement which went down, externally, like a lead balloon.
SNPVAC, the country’s civil aviation flight staff union has dubbed the decision “shameful”; while President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa suggests TAP has “a problem of common sense”.