Union boss says he cannot rule out spontaneous strikes at Swiss airports
The head of the staff union for airports in Switzerland has warned that workers will be under huge pressure during the school summer holidays this year. While no strike action has been planned yet, unions say they cannot rule out “spontaneous action" by staff.
Zurich Airport expects disruption across Europe
Across Europe, airports and airlines have been forced to cancel flights as a result of a lack of staff and rising passenger numbers. Already, SWISS has announced a reduced timetable for 2022, cancelling 2 percent of flights during the summer and over 600 flights between August and October.
Zurich Airport said in a statement that bottlenecks at airports around the world, resulting in delayed flights and misplaced luggage, are likely to affect Swiss travellers. The largest airport in Switzerland said it expects 80.000 to 90.000 passengers on peak days, and while they say this will make delays likely, they were still confident of keeping services going.
Unions cannot rule out strike action by Swiss airport workers
However, this is not the view shared by airport workers, according to the President of the Aviation Department of the Transport Staff Union, Philipp Hadorn. Speaking to Swiss newspaper Blick, he said there are signs that it will be “almost impossible to cope with the imminent onslaught” of passengers, noting that the mood among airport staff is “explosive.”
According to Blick, many workers are now refusing to take overtime to cope with the staff shortages. Despite recent efforts by international companies like SWISS and Swissport to fill jobs, the newspaper claimed that the labour pool had simply “dried up.” The situation has been made more complicated by an ongoing dispute between unions and aviation companies over work contracts agreed upon during the COVID pandemic.
Concluding the interview, Hadorn noted that the unions expect a “difficult summer” for workers. While he did not call for strike action directly, he said that he could no longer rule out spontaneous strikes by workers at airports.