TAP pilots reject request to work on days off

Syndicates stress restructuring plan “will destroy company”

TAP pilots have rejected a new proposal by the company to reach an agreement for this summer’s operation, which provided for an increase of 25%, 50% and 100%, respectively in work done on days off, modified holidays or public holidays.

“Once again, it was evident that pilots do not intend to give up time off or free time, essential to the balance between the demands of the profession and personal life, in exchange for what was subtracted from them with assumptions that are not verified today,” reads a statement sent by the Union of Civil Aviation Pilots (SPAC) to members, to which Lusa has had access.

SPAC voted on Wednesday for a new proposal from TAP.

In an assembly that lasted almost 10 hours, 87% of the 875 pilots present – or represented by proxy – voted against the proposal that had been negotiated in the past on their behalf between SPAC and TAP management.

As Lusa explains, it should be remembered that, as part of the airline’s restructuring plan, pilots signed a Temporary Emergency Agreement (ATE), which allowed the company to apply 50% pay cuts to them in the first year of its application.

According to SPAC, the “goodwill” of pilots no longer exists, describing them as “crushed” by the way they have been treated by TAP’s management. 

Meantime, syndicates representing other sectors of the company have stressed that the restructuring plan as it remains “will destroy” it.

At a time when airline travel everywhere is dogged with administrative issues, unions point the finger at the way national airports are run by ANA airports authority (subsidiary of French group VINCI, whose airports are already among the ‘worst’ managed in the world, according to a report by Correio da Manhã earlier this week).

Talking to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, Fernando Henriques of Sitava (the syndicate of airport and aviation workers) described Lisbon airport as “a shopping centre on a par with Colombo (a large complex in central Lisbon); the only difference being people go there to catch airplanes. But that is secondary… TAP is a victim of the way VINCI manages Lisbon airport and national airports, and not the other way round”, he said.

Another factor is that the restructuring plan was devised for airline travel running at 70% of 2019’s operations. This is totally ‘out of date’: airline travel is now easily at 90% of 2019’s operations, while staff numbers are well down on ideal. 

As president of SPAC (syndicate of aviation pilots) Tiago Faria Lopes warned, “today flights are being cancelled due to lack of pilots”, while according to the ‘emergency agreements’ signed under the restructuring plan, pilots face salaries cut if they don’t agree to ‘flexible days off’.

Source: Lusa