SWISS pilots threaten to strike on October 17
The union representing pilots at flag carrier airline SWISS have rejected the company's latest offer of increased salaries. Aeropers announced that they are now preparing for strike action, scheduled for October 17, 2022.
SWISS pilots set to strike on October 17 after talks break down
In a statement given to the Tages-Anzeiger, SWISS said that it had "submitted an offer for a new CCT (collective employment agreement) containing more than 60 million francs of improvements compared to the previous one. Aeropers, the pilots' union, rejected it.” Pilots at the flag carrier airline of Switzerland have been flying without a collective employment agreement since April 2022.
The international company said that it had offered workers wage increases of between 3.000 and 9.000 francs a year, and promised “measures to reconcile private and professional life (such as flexible working hours)." ”This offer is also a significant improvement compared to the last collective employment agreement from 2018. This is despite the increased debt burden caused by the COVID pandemic and the uncertain global economic situation," SWISS noted.
Pilots demand wage increases costing 200 million francs a year total
SWISS said that the pilots’ union, Aeropers, had called for salary increases costing 200 million francs a year, something they could not accept due to the financial consequences of the COVID pandemic. "SWISS regrets the rejection by the Aeropers board," they concluded, assuring that they would still be open to negotiations with the union over a compromise.
In response, Aeropers said that SWISS had “not sufficiently entered into the matter of the legitimate interests of its pilots.” They claimed that the offer from SWISS amounted to a pay cut when factors like inflation are considered.
Pilots' union to begin balloting for strike actions
Speaking to the Tages-Anzeiger, Aeropers spokesperson Thomas Steffen said they would begin balloting members over the next two weeks. "If the members agree to the board's motion and the management of SWISS has not submitted a significantly improved offer in the meantime, strike measures are possible from October 17," he explained.
If the strike goes ahead, passengers should expect major disruption at Swiss airports on October 17, as was seen when SWISS’s parent company Lufthansa had to cancel over 800 flights due to a pilots' strike on September 2. It is hoped that, much like the second strike planned at Lufthansa, the issues at SWISS can be resolved before the strike takes off.