SWISS offers pilots 2.400 francs a day to work during holiday leave

SWISS offers pilots 2.400 francs a day to work during holiday leave

The flag-carrier airline of Switzerland, SWISS, has offered its pilots 2.400 francs a day if they choose to work during their holiday leave, an internal letter has revealed. The international company has announced a recruitment drive to fill the 70 full-time pilot positions that are currently vacant at the airline.

SWISS offers to buy back pilot's vacation days

In an internal letter leaked to 20 Minuten, SWISS has told its workers that they can “sell” their holiday days. Aviation regulation requires pilots be given at least 32 days of vacation a year, so officers will only be allowed to sell any additional days they are given over this limit, as stipulated in their work contract.

As part of the deal, the company has promised to pay workers 1,2 percent of their full annual salary for each day of vacation they work. The newspaper calculated that a full-time and experienced pilot at SWISS, who has an annual salary of 200.000 francs, will receive 2.400 francs for every vacation day they work. Pilots who choose to volunteer to work on a day off will also receive compensation of 600 to 800 francs a day.

New labour agreement leads to staff shortage at SWISS

According to a spokesperson from SWISS, the problem stems from the new collective labour agreement the company signed to avoid strike action last year. They told 20 Minuten that while the deal gives its pilots a better work-life balance through better working hours, the agreement “results in an additional need for pilots - we cannot cover this immediately because the training for new pilots takes around two years." 

The newspaper claimed that SWISS needs around 70 full-time pilots to fill the current staff shortage. However, instead of cancelling flights, the spokesperson said that the company will start to recruit and train pilots again this year, and hire around 80 new officers from parent company Lufthansa.

When asked whether the holiday buyback campaign would jeopardise the quality and safety of their planes, the spokesperson said that the deal had already been agreed upon between unions and the company and that pilots are only obliged to participate if they are rested and fit. They concluded that safety remained a top priority for the company.

Image: / Senohrabek

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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