Friday, February 26, 2021

TAP. Flight staff union postpones vote on “unacceptable” agreement

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Mário Cruz / Lusa

The National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel has postponed, to a date to be announced, the vote on the emergency agreement with TAP, initially scheduled for this Monday, according to a statement to which the Lusa had access.

In the letter from the chairman of the board of the general meeting to the members of the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC) belonging to the TAP group, dated Saturday, it can be read that the postponement happens “in order to safeguard the best interest from class”.

Thus, the voting scheduled for Monday is suspended and “postponed to a date to be announced”, according to the message from Carlos Afonso de Sousa Castelo, president of that SNPVAC governing body.

On Friday, it was also known that the Civil Aviation Pilots Union (SPAC) convoked the general meeting scheduled for Saturday, at which it would vote on the emergency agreement at TAP, postponing it to the 26th, due to “some technical and computer weaknesses”, according to an internal message.

On Saturday, the Government announced that TAP will advance, preventively, with the substitute regime, a unilateral solution pending the decision of SPAC and the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC) on the emergency agreement.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing (MIH), this is a “preventive measure if necessary”, while the government waits “for the deliberations of the general assemblies of the only two unions that have not yet ratified the Emergency Agreement. ”.

The substitute regime makes it possible to apply unilaterally, among other measures, the total or partial suspension of the clauses of the agreements from the company.

On February 6, SNPVAC announced a collective emergency agreement with TAP, after a ten-hour meeting with the company, in which the parties agreed to reduce layoffs for 166 crew, compared to the 746 initially planned, as part of the company’s restructuring process.

The agreement reached with the crew also foresees wage cuts of 25% in 2021, 2022 and 2023, while in 2024 the reduction is 20%.

However, the cuts in pay do not affect wages below 1,330 euros, except in 2021, where the limit without reduction is 1,200 euros, plus six days per month of a remunerative variable.

The parties also agreed that the crew will provide service on board, however, this can be “adjusted and adapted to the crews now defined”, and “a commission will be created to monitor new workloads and the general service on board”.

The reduction in the normal working period will be transversal to all crew members: 15% in 2021, 10% in 2022 and 5% in 2023.

However, for Portugália (PGA), a 25% cut in cabin crew salaries between 2021 and 2023 and a 20% cut in 2024, applicable to the portion above 1,330 euros, was also agreed.

The agreement covers the “approximately 180 cabin crew members” of Portugália Airlines (PGA) represented by the union.

Third way to “unacceptable” emergency agreement

Also according to Lusa, a group of members of the Civil Aviation Pilots Union (SPAC) has proposed a ‘third way’ for the emergency agreement at TAP to overcome the current “unacceptable” proposal.

Starting by mentioning that regarding the Emergency and Temporary Agreement between TAP and SPAC “it was clear” that, “in the understanding of the SPAC Management, it does not reflect the negotiation will of this union”, the members mandate the management “to inform the administration [da TAP] that your proposal is unacceptable“.

The signatories of the document consider that, despite the cut already proposed, the national airline “does not guarantee the preservation of jobs”, and affirm that “forcing workers to negotiate with preconditions imposed from a position of strength is barely acceptable, from an ethical and moral point of view, but above all even questionable from a legal point of view, being able to substantiate a ‘Leonine society’ [em que um sócio fica com todo o lucro e sem participar nas perdas]”.

Thus, the group of union members proposed to incorporation of various measures in the emergency agreement, “so that the measures in question have a less damaging impact for the pilots and the company and that, in fact, allows the maintenance of the jobs of TAP pilots”.

Among these measures are the “application of the general cut of 25%, except in 2024, which would be 20%, similar to the other classes, applied above 1,330 euros”, or the implementation of “part-time work, remaining fully the provisions of the RUPT [Regulamento de Utilização e Prestação de Trabalho]”.

“The percentage of work reduction will initially be 25%, being maintained or reduced according to the joint and frequent analyzes between TAP and SPAC. This measure allows the same savings as the increase in cuts, but forces the company to be efficient in its planning and execution of aerial operations carried out by pilots ”, propose the associates.

The signatories of the document also suggest the appointment, by the SPAC, of ​​“a representative for the daily verification of the fair and good distribution of work with the planning and stopover services”.

It is also proposed to maintain “all RRCE conditions [Regulamento de Recurso à Contratação Externa], including the limit foreseen for external contracting within the TAP group, of 17 planes in 2021, 19 planes in 2022, 20 planes in 2023 and in 2024 of 20% of ‘block hours’ ”, and the RRC penalties“ must accounted for greater retention of pilots in the staff ”.

Associates also want that “to the monetary values ​​directly associated with work that are not fixed costs, such as’ per diems’ and landing allowances, just apply the general factor of 25%, as it is independent of the pilots’ staff,” and “ make adjustments only to the Category Expiration, not to the Exercise Expiration or Technical Annuities ”.

The pilots intend to “unlink a future Company Agreement” or similar “from fixed metrics such as, for example, the wage bill in 2025, of 173 million Euros”, and until the revision and approval of the Emergency Agreement apply a reduction clause of activity “with partial work for all TAP Pilots, in order to collaborate towards the objectives of reducing the wage bill associated with the reduction of activity, resulting from the pandemic ”.

It is also desirable to maintain the validities, scope and applications of “all instruments related to retirement plans”, whether those of guaranteed benefit (still in force) or those of defined contribution ”, as well as the renegotiation or accounting of all amounts related to component losses such as seniority, seniority, parking, DHC positioning [‘dead head crew] in executive or higher, increases in cargo or ferry services, supplements to Social Security or pre-reforms in case of extinction of equipment.

“In the case of new hires of pilots for TAP SA, the order of hiring should be: pilots who were assigned to PGA, pilots who left due to dismissal / termination, pilots who left in the training phase”, also claims this group of associates of the SPAC. The signatories also argue that pilots cannot “be prevented from exercising their professional activity in another operator, if they are placed on unpaid leave or partial work”.

A Lusa contacted the SPAC to find out what the reaction to this proposal from the members was, but the union sent comments to a period after the assembly was held to vote on the agreement.

IL wants TdC to audit recomposition of TAP’s capital

According to the newspaper Public, the Liberal Initiative tightened its grip on the Government about the process of public aid to the aviation company.

After waiting for months for the liquidity plan that justified the operation of injection of state capital in the company and having finally arrived at his hands only “three sheets, with two graphs and a table”, the party wants the Court of Auditors to carry out a process audit the recovery of TAP’s share capital occurred last year.

João Cotrim de Figueiredo proposed, in a draft resolution that he has just delivered to Parliament, that the Assembly of the Republic recommend this audit to the Government.

According to the daily, the intention is realize “how the final sum of aid was reached to TAP, almost four billion euros of taxpayers; it is necessary to find out what calculations were made, on which they were based, what the expected returns were and with what time horizon ”.

In the audit that asks the Court of Auditors, João Cotrim de Figueiredo wants to be analyzed if the restructuring plan designed by the current Government violates the law or not in the “way it acted in relation to TAP workers”, that is to say whether the fact that they were not heard from the beginning may or may not legally call this plan into question.

The IL deputy recalls that the amount allocated to TAP “started out as a request for guarantees of 350 million euros, then went on to ‘600 to 700 million euros’, then to a capital injection of’ 700 to 900 million euros’, then to a ‘maximum of 1200 million euros’, then to 1700 million euros and, finally, to 3725 million euros by the end of 2024 ”.

A succession of revised values ​​that foresee that the public injection may not stop here, predicts João Cotrim de Figueiredo, who also accuses the Government of deceiving the Portuguese.

“Support for TAP is completely disproportionate compared to support given to other economic activities, especially when we compare the weight of that and these in the country’s GDP”, highlights the liberal deputy.

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