Sitava accused the government of inflicting a "low blow" and "treachery" on TAP workers for declaring the company in a "difficult economic situation".
Portugal’s Aviation and Airport Workers’ Union (Sitava) on Wednesday accused the government of inflicting a “low blow” and “treachery” on TAP workers for declaring the company in a “difficult economic situation” in order to suspend the company agreements.
“It was [Tuesday] when the workers were violently attacked with the news of the cabinet resolution, which, cowardly, came to rob the workers of one of the oldest and most important achievements of their already long history of struggles,” the union said in a statement, referring to collective bargaining, whose first collective labour agreement was signed 50 years ago.
For the union, this decision is “a low and, even more, treacherous blow,” carried out by “a Socialist government and by a [infrastructure] minister, Pedro Nuno Santos, who never gets tired of calling himself left-wing.”
Sitava said that the workers had been deluded by the government for several months, for having ensured “that all the necessary measures would be discussed and negotiated with their representatives,” but that this did not happen.
The union structure also demands that the government “immediately replace” the current administration of TAP and that it “refrain from committing any act that harms the company and the workers.”
Sitava blames the difficult situation in which the airline finds itself for the “adventurous experimentalism” of the old private management, which remains in the company, with the exception of the former executive president, Antonoaldo Neves, who was replaced by Ramiro Sequeira, who was already part of the old board of directors.
“But does this government and its board of directors, who are in fact responsible for everything that happened during this period, show any signs of wanting to amend their hand? No, it does not! Not only, as we have said, has the management of the former private shareholders (including the financial one) kept the company running at this time of great difficulties, but it seems to continue to maintain their confidence so that these are now also the torturers of the workers who over the years have believed in their acts of management,” he pointed out.
In the union’s view, a new management team should be sworn in, “in line with the interests of the public TAP and at the service of the country,” as well as “quickly” replacing “all the structures of all the current leaderships, paid for, by cadres with proven experience in the company.
The cabinet adopted on Tuesday a resolution declaring TAP, Portugália and Cateringpor, the catering company of the TAP group, “in a difficult economic situation”.
“These companies are covered by the effects provided for in the legislation, in particular the modification of working conditions and the non-application or suspension, in whole or in part, of the clauses of the company agreements or of the applicable collective regulatory instruments, with the establishment of the respective substitute regime”, the government said in a statement.
On the same day, TAP informed the Securities Market Commission (CMVM) of the cabinet decision.
TAP’s restructuring plan, delivered in Brussels this month, foresees the suspension of the company’s agreements, a measure without which, according to Pedro Nuno Santos, minister for infrastructure and housing, it would not be possible to restructure TAP.
TAP’s restructuring plan, submitted to the European Commission, foresees the dismissal of 500 pilots, 750 cabin crew, 450 maintenance and engineering workers and 250 from other areas.
The plan also provides for a 25% reduction in the group’s wage bill (30% in the case of corporate bodies) and in the number of aircraft in the company’s fleet from 108 to 88.