Strike fever has spread to other European carriers.
Employees of Air France, TAP Air Portugal and Lufthansa have announced intentions to strike against what they say are unfair conditions regarding jobs and working conditions. Airline officials counter, saying they are restructuring or implementing cost-cutting measures in order for their companies to survive.
Air France will kick off hostilities, starting this Sunday, March 28, 2010 when crews on short- and medium-haul flights intend to walk off the job.
The mass action, which takes place just days ahead of Air France’s summer schedule on April 1, could last four days should both parties fail to reach an agreement. If talks continue to be at stalemate before March 28 – in the midst of the second British Airways strike – all services serving France, Europe, Moscow, North Africa and Israel will be affected.
TAP pilots are refusing to work between March 26 and 31 to protest what their union, Civil Aviation Pilots, believe are “unacceptable” tactics by airline officials to reduce operational costs, yet expecting pilot productivity to remain high.
Their counterparts at Lufthansa, who discontinued a planned four-day strike in February after bringing operations to a standstill for 24 hours, will resume their fight from April 13 to 16, saying negotiations with management have gone nowhere. Pilots said the dates were chosen “so as not to disrupt the vacation plans of customers during the Easter holidays”.
Flights of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings will again be affected.
Yesterday, Italy’s flag carrier, Alitalia cancelled or delayed flights due to a four-hour work stoppage by flight crew and baggage handlers who are vetoing its restructuring plans.
Business Traveller will report on the airlines’ various contingency plans once it is able to secure them.
Margie T Logarta