TAP plane

TAP “will do everything to reach deal” with striking flight crew

“Respects and regrets” syndicate’s decision to strike between January 25 – 31

The management of Portugal’s national flag-carrier airline TAP has said that it respects and regrets the decision by civil aviation flight crew union SNPVAC to go on strike this month – and has assured that it is doing everything it can to reach an agreement.

An official source told Lusa: “We respect and regret the SNPVAC’s decision and continue to do everything possible to reach an agreement that serves the best interests of the country, our customers, cabin crew and TAP.”

SNPVAC’s decision to strike has been amplified by the recent golden handshake scandal involving TAP. The incident that provoked a number of casualties in government is indicative, say unions, of the poor state of the airline’s management.

Indeed, the pilots union has been calling for the dismissal of TAP CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener and chairman of the board Manuel Beja due to what it believes is damaging management

All this is playing out as the government’s overall plan for the airline is to sell it (rather, reprivatise, following the eye-watering restructuring plan totalling €3.2 billion decided without support from opposition parties).

And this is the root of the problem with TAP syndicates: while the airline has been cutting-back salaries, and shedding jobs, the management board has been increasing the number of top-flight directors, and paying them handsomely.

In 2015, for example, TAP had 39 directors, today it has 63 “on millionaire salaries”, Expresso points out.

None of this sits well with the unions, in spite of the fact that the airline is expected to register positive results for 2022, which prime minister António Costa has intimated will be ‘presented soon’.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com