The Portuguese flag carrier's management invited the trade unions "to participate in social dialogue processes at the beginning of the year."
TAP’s management has told workers that it started a round of negotiations with the trade unions, signalling that the publication of the declaration of the company in a difficult economic situation will soon be an “essential” step in the restructuring process.
“The management, as it has been doing since the beginning of this process, addressed, during the past week, communications to the structures representing workers, inviting them to participate in social dialogue processes at the beginning of the year. In these meetings, which will start on Thursday, the management of TAP and the Portuguese government will be side by side to establish the dialogue mentioned above,” according to a communication sent today to the workers to which the Lusa agency had access.
The document, signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Miguel Frasquilho, and by the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Ramiro Sequeira, states that following the announcement already made previously by the government, it is about to be published in the Official Gazette “and therefore become official and effective, the declaration that TAP, S.A., Portugália, S.A. and Cateringpor, S.A. are in a difficult economic situation”.
“The declaration of companies in difficult economic situation is instrumental for the survival and sustainability of the TAP Group, given the imperative need to significantly reduce their costs and cash requirements, and will also contribute to the preservation of many jobs, in a context where TAP’s competitors are also implementing severe restructuring and staff adjustment programmes”, they explain.
On December 22, the cabinet approved a resolution which declared TAP, Portugália and Cateringpor, the TAP group’s catering company, to be in a “difficult economic situation”, the statement issued that day read. “These companies are covered by the effects provided for in the legislation, namely 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.
The declaration of companies in a difficult economic situation will also, according to TAP officials today, be a decisive factor in demonstrating the viability of the TAP group’s recovery process with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.
“Once this step has been accomplished, and on the essential assumption that the restructuring plan will obtain the approval of the relevant European authorities, TAP’s management will be in a better position to engage in an open, committed and constructive dialogue with the structures representing the workers, in particular, the Workers’ Commission and the Trade Unions,” they say.
The objective will be “in a climate of social peace and serenity” to define and implement the concrete measures and aspects of the plan, as well as “to build short-, medium- and long-term solutions that contribute to the sustainability of the TAP group.”
“We are convinced that the restructuring plan presented, which now, with the involvement of the Workers and Trade Unions Committee, should have a concrete definition and the corresponding implementation plan, will allow the gradual and progressive economic and financial rebalancing of the TAP group and ensure its sustainable survival,” they conclude.
TAP’s restructuring plan, delivered in Brussels last month, foresees the suspension of the company agreements, a measure without which, according to Minister Pedro Nuno Santos, it would not be possible to restructure the airline.
The document submitted to the European Commission provides for the dismissal of 500 pilots, 750 cabin crew, 450 maintenance and engineering workers and 250 from other areas.
The plan also foresees a 25% reduction in the group’s payroll (30% in the case of corporate bodies) and in the number of aircraft in the company’s fleet, from 108 to 88 commercial aircraft.