Austrian Airlines (AUA) has been forced to cancel 110 flights due to a works meeting where the 1,200 crew present unanimously rejected AUA’s offer of a collective agreement. The pilots and flight attendants are calling for negotiations to continue until Maundy Thursday and have warned that they may resort to a labor dispute if no agreement is reached.
According to AUA, salaries would be increased by at least ten percent under the proposed agreement, but the union argues that this is the only offer on the table. The offer includes merging two salary scales, resulting in an average salary increase of 12.3 percent, and flight attendants in lower wage groups could see an increase in income of up to 23 percent. AUA’s offer also includes ending the salary waiver of ten percent two years earlier than agreed and an inflation adjustment of up to 3,000 euros for 2022.
The collective agreement was initially agreed upon in October 2022, but it was later discovered that AUA had achieved a significant profit in the third quarter, which caused resentment among the workforce, particularly as managers were set to receive a bonus for 2022.
AUA justifies the variable salary components for managers by saying that they have waived 17 percent of their salary, but the Vida union disputes this, as the executives still earn significantly more than flight attendants, some of whom would receive less than 1,900 euros a month.
The crew has agreed to back up their demands with a labor dispute if negotiations fail by April 6. This dispute could lead to flight disruptions in the coming days if no agreement is reached.
The ongoing negotiations and potential labor dispute have caused concern among passengers who have had to deal with flight cancellations and delays. The situation has also put pressure on AUA’s management, who will need to find a way to resolve the situation before it escalates further.
In response to the situation, AUA released a statement saying, “We regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers due to the flight cancellations. We are committed to finding a solution that is fair for both our employees and the company.”
The Vida union has also released a statement, saying, “We will continue to fight for fair wages and working conditions for our members. We hope that AUA will come back to the negotiating table and work towards a resolution that is acceptable to all parties.”
The ongoing dispute between AUA and its crew highlights the challenges faced by airlines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the industry hard. The situation also underscores the importance of fair wages and working conditions for airline employees, who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, ensuring that passengers can travel safely.