SWISS pilots vote overwhelmingly for strike action, but delay for a week
At a meeting held on October 16, unionised pilots at flag-carrier airline SWISS voted overwhelmingly to go on strike, if no agreement is reached over salaries and working conditions. The international company now has until October 23 to give the union a better offer.
SWISS pilots vote for strike action, but give company one last chance
According to Swissinfo, 93 percent of pilots represented by the Aeropers pilots' union voted for a possible strike at SWISS. The union - the only pilots’ union in Switzerland - has been trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with SWISS, after the previous deal was terminated. Pilots at SWISS have been flying without a collective work contract since March 2022.
The vote follows talks between the airline and Aeropers last Friday where both sides were unable to reach a deal. In a statement, Aeropers said that the current deal offered by SWISS would permanently worsen working hours and work-life balance. “The working conditions of SWISS pilots do not reflect social reality and must be adjusted," noted Aeropers President Clemens Kopetz.
After the vote, Kopetz wrote to members that the union hoped to resolve the disputes at SWISS without industrial action. “We want a solution at the negotiating table. However, should the CEO fail to take advantage of this opportunity, we are prepared to enforce the legitimate interests of our members with industrial action.” Other members of the Lufthansa Group, like Lufthansa itself, have already seen strikes disrupt hundreds of flights over the summer.
Strikes at SWISS expected from October 24 if no agreement is reached
If the new round of talks (scheduled for October 22 and 23) fails to produce a solution, the union announced they will begin planning "next steps" from October 24. As the union represents around 1.000 pilots at SWISS, hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers would be affected at airports in Switzerland and abroad, should a strike take place.
Speaking to The Local, SWISS spokesperson Karin Montani confirmed that “negotiations between SWISS and Aeropers are still ongoing.” “In case of a comprehensive disruption of our flight operations, we inform our customers and the public timely via our various channels," she concluded.