Challenge infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos to “assume mistake”
TAP’s miserable summer of discontent continues today, in spite of the airline’s rallying call to workers to ‘come on board’ with an internally unpopular restructuring operation: around 500 pilots demonstrated outside the company’s headquarters against what they consider to be TAP’s “ongoing abuses and injustices” and a management model that is taking the airline to bankruptcy.
Waving placards with messages like “I am a TAP pilot and I am also a taxpayer” and “Forgive me, I am a TAP pilot”, the 500 held a vigil of silence, interrupted only by applause.
Civil aviation pilots’ union (SPAC) essentially called the demo over the refusal by TAP’s board of directors to hold workers’ meetings.
The objective however was to demonstrate dissatisfaction that actually runs much deeper than the issue of workers’ meetings.
As SPAC president Tiago Faria Lopes explained, SPAC fears TAP management is simply grinding the company into the dust – while the government stands by, complicit in the exercise.
“TAP changes offices, hires external services at increasingly more millionaire costs and always says this is within the restructuring plan, ” he told reporters.
“The money belongs to Portuguese taxpayers and the pilots here today are all Portuguese taxpayers. This is our money…”
SPAC’s beef is that the TAP restructuring plan, for all the billions of euros it involves, has never been published.
Another concern is that TAP could be going the way of Flybe (which collapsed in 2020, and whose CEO at the time was Christine Ourmières-Widener – the current CEO of TAP).
TAP’s response to what are really quite serious concerns and allegations has been, as Tiago Faria Lopes described – apologising ahead for any offence the word might cause – ‘autistic’.
A statement issued by the company said that it “regrets” not having reached an agreement with its pilots “who are essential to the company” but remains “committed to finding solutions that will ensure the sustainability of the company and all its workers.”
Infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos – a politician who only recently escaped being sacked by a whisker – has so far said nothing. Tiago Faria Lopes has challenged him to assume his mistake in letting TAP behave in the way that it is.