Swissport admits to negotiate labour changes at Groundforce

  • ECO News
  • 7 June 2022

The Swiss company is studying the current labour conditions at Groundforce. If it takes over the company that does the handling for TAP, it may negotiate changes together with the unions.

Swissport is looking closely at Groundforce’s labour agreement and admits to negotiating changes if necessary. First, it will have to be selected to hold a 50.1% stake in the Portuguese handling company.

“We are looking at the current labour agreements. We want to have a clear reading of them. We will see together with the unions how the process will go forward,” Nadia Kaddouri, Swissports’s chief strategist & sustainability office, said at a meeting with journalists in Zurich, where Swissport’s headquarters are located. A restructuring is out of the question.

The chief executive, Warwick Brady, wants the workers on board. “They have to be part” of the project and “see the opportunities”. “We have to have the unions with us,” he adds. “We invest in people, we train them to achieve high levels of performance. We want to hire the right people and keep them,” adds Andres Diez, global commercial director. The aim is to have “a modern workforce,” the CEO points out.

Swissport employed around 45,000 workers at the end of 2021, spread across 285 airports in 45 countries. The company plans to hire 17,000 more this year, getting close to the numbers it had before the pandemic. In some markets, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is facing difficulties in hiring due to the shortage of labour and competition from companies such as Amazom or the hospitality industry. Which has led to the launch of the company’s first recruitment campaign on social media.

Swissport is disputing with Kuwait’s National Aviation Services over Alfredo Casimiro’s 50.1% stake in Groundforce. The entry of a new shareholder is part of the restructuring plan that will be proposed by the insolvency administrators and will have to be approved by two thirds of the creditors. The largest group is, precisely, the workers. For the process to be concluded it will be necessary for the insolvency to become final, which depends on the result of the appeal filed by Alfredo Casimiro at the Supreme Court of Justice.