The proposed week-long walkout would have canceled 1,300 flights, causing significant disruption to almost 160,000 TAP passengers.
TAP Air Portugal cabin crew members have called off a seven-day strike planned for this week after reaching a temporary agreement with airline management.
The week-long walkout initially planned to begin on Wednesday would have seen the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel-affiliated (SNPVAC) cabin crew strike following a dispute over frozen wages and poor working conditions. Around 1,300 flights were set to be axed between January 25 and 31, impacting 160,000 passengers across TAP’s network.
After extensive discussions, unionists and TAP’s management reached an agreement, meeting 12 of SNPVAC’s 14 outlined demands, according to comments made by union president Ricardo Penarróias.
Although considered a temporary solution by employees, TAP welcomed a resolution to the dispute as it moved forwards with its restructuring plans.
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“The Executive Committee of TAP has been fully engaged in the negotiations with the SNPVAC, so that this outcome was possible, and will maintain this openness and dialogue with all the structures representing the workers.”
“TAP’s operation will continue without any alteration and all commitments made to our customers will be respected, in an unequivocal demonstration that all its professionals are strongly committed to the defense and development of TAP.”
The decision was not unanimous with around a third of employees voting against the proposal. Penarróias referred to the continued discontent among the crew members as a message for the Portuguese flag carrier.
“Despite the agreement, there is still dissatisfaction on the part of TAP group workers with the restructuring plan. The dissatisfactions did not disappear with a magic wand just because we made an agreement,” Penarróias told Correio da Manhã.
TAP employees previously walked out for two days in December 2022, causing significant disruption to the carrier’s schedule on December 8 and 9. The total financial impact of the brief strike is believed to have been around €8 million ($8.7 million).
The Portuguese airline has struggled with its finances through the pandemic, requiring an EU-approved bailout of €3.2 billion ($3.5 billion). Around 2,900 employees were let go, with wages for remaining staff being slashed by approximately 25%.
Employees remained unhappy with the continually stagnated wages amid Europe’s ongoing cost-of-living crisis, turning to industrial action late last year. Initial demands outlined by SNPVAC included the unfreezing of wages, along with improved maternity leave and rest periods for staff members. After failing to come to an agreement, SNPVAC called for a second, prolonged strike in early January.
TAP had criticized the announcement, referring to the proposed walkout as “(throwing) out of the window all the work of rapprochement between the parties.”
Despite its financial difficulties, in November 2022, the airline posted a profit of €111 million ($120 million), a dramatic change from 2021’s €134.5 million ($145 million) loss. Speaking to parliament earlier this month, airline executive president Christine Ourmières-Widener noted that TAP was expecting solid financials for its end-of-year results to be released in March, adding that all workers will be rewarded for the work they have been doing to support the carrier.
What are your thoughts on TAP’s union dispute? Was your flight affected by strike action in December? Let us know in the comments.
Sources: Reuters, Correio da Manhã
TAP Air Portugal
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Lisbon Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Christine Ourmières-Widener