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TAP crew announces week-long strike at the end of January


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After carrying out a two-day stoppage in December, which caused the cancellation of 360 flights, the crew of TAP Air Portugal announced that they will interrupt activities once again. The National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC) delivered a strike notice, now lasting a week, from 25th to 31st January.

The company said it regrets the union’s decision.

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“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,” the company said in a statement.

Information on the procedures to be adopted by the company has yet to be disclosed. In the stoppage that took place on December 8 and 9, the company opted to cancel all flights scheduled for the period in advance, giving travelers the option of rescheduling or refunding.

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Due to the strategic importance of the TAP operation, the arbitration tribunal of the CES (Economic and Social Council) determined at the time the operation of minimum services, which included at least one outward and one return flight to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. TAP flies to 11 Brazilian capitals.

Although most travelers were able to use the provided solutions, there were also reports of problems with the affected sections, such as difficulties in rebooking and lack of adequate communication.

The estimated impact of the two-day strike was €8 million (R$44.8 million) in revenue.

The crew and management of the Portuguese airline are fighting a disputed renegotiation of the collective agreement, which has been in force since 2006.

After a succession of bad financial results intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic, TAP entered into a restructuring process that ensured the injection of 3.2 billion euros (R$ 18 billion) in the company. The plan, approved by the European Commission in 2021, provides for several cost-cutting measures, such as reducing the fleet, cutting more than 2,000 jobs and reducing wages.

Currently, TAP employees who earn more than two minimum wages have a salary reduction of at least 25%. At a time when there are signs of improvement in the company’s accounts, the unions demand that this be reflected in wages, especially at a time of high inflation and a general increase in the cost of living.

In an internal note sent to its associates, the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel criticized TAP’s position.

“We recall that the company cannot boast of achieving profits in 2022, without there being a true and significant recognition of the efforts of the cabin crew”, says the text.

According to the union, it was precisely these efforts, “as well as the multiple and painful personal and professional sacrifices” of the class, “that contributed to the results presented by the company”.

Official results for 2022 have not yet been announced, but there are strong signs of recovery. After four years of losses, TAP should return to reporting net income.

The strike, however, is far from being the only headache for the Portuguese company, which has been immersed in a series of controversies in recent months.

The main one, which has just motivated the approval of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, concerns the payment of compensation of 500,000 euros to former manager Alexandra Reis who, ten months after leaving the company, took over Secretary of State for the Treasury.

The proposal of the newly approved CPI provides for an analysis of political supervision in the management of the airline, “namely, the process of co-opting, appointing and hiring Alexandra Reis for the management of TAP and the other administrators and the terms of application of the respective framework legal”.

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