Swiss, Switzerland’s flag airline, which is part of the Lufthansa group, has asked employees to accept a 15% pay cut. If they reject this offer the airline has said 1,425 jobs will be at risk, 15% of the workforce, according to a report by the newspaper Sonntags Zeitung.
“Our goal is to get through the crisis with as many employees as possible.” said Marco Lipp, spokesperson for the airline. “This will only be possible if substantial reductions in staff costs can be achieved across all parts of the business during the coming years of crisis.”
This means either pay cuts or layoffs. “We have to cut around 20 percent of the our costs. Not only staff costs, but costs across every area of the company.” Lipp said. All staff will be affected, including floor, cabin and cockpit personnel.
Swiss has opened talks with the cabin crew union and the Aeropers airline pilots’ association.
The airline, which has taken a CHF 1.5 billion rescue package from Switzerland’s federal government, has to follow strict requirements included in the bail out deal.
Thomas Klühr, the airline’s boss, said recently that he could not guarantee anything.
The airline lost CHF 266 million during the first half of 2020 after revenues dropped by 55% compared to 2019.
Sonntags Zeitung article (in German)
is forced to take rigorous austerity measures because the federal government has set strict requirements in the 1.5 billion rescue package.
Management has already asked the unions and staff representatives to come to the negotiating table. Among other things, this involves a social plan. And that is an alarm signal for the employee representatives. Because there are always negotiations on a social plan when mass layoffs are imminent.
In terms of personnel, savings of no less than 15 percent are possible, says Stefan Brülisauer from the Association of Personnel Public Services (VPOD), which represents the employees on the ground. This puts the jobs of 1,425 of the 9,500 employees at risk. The VPOD has had its first meeting with Swiss. Swiss has also started talks with the cabin crew union. The Aeropers pilots’ association has been invited to negotiations.
The industry reports bad news almost every day. It was announced on Friday that Zurich Airport will cut 120 jobs by next summer. In addition, Air France and the Dutch KLM have decided to lay off half of their 80 or so employees in Switzerland.