Written by Sonia Perez Pinto and Daniela Soares Ferreira
ATAP uses Bulgarian Airlines aircraft for some flights to Europe. As Nascer do SOL discovered, there is at least one instance where half of the aircraft was painted in TAP colors and the other part in the Bulgarian company’s logo. The crew is also of the same nationality, that is, they cannot speak Portuguese. The president of the National Union of Civil Aviation Personnel (SNPVAC) is aware of these situations, but admits that they are not frequent.
“Sometimes one situation or the other may occur. Even because the number of the Bulgarian crew is small. What’s going on? There was a delay because Embraers and TAP had to resort to outsourcing. This overseas appointment, in the case of Portugal, hired Air Bulgaria who came with their technical staff, ”says Ricardo Benaroa.
The official also reveals that between October and November, the company faced an operational surge and “had to” turn to more cabin crew. «Maybe there was a certain problem with the crew, at a period I can’t say. Now there are Air Bulgaria planes operating TAP planes in recent months ».
Regarding the fact that aircraft are not marked with company symbols, the head of SNPVAC ensures that it is a common practice. “TAP is also recruiting Hi Fly and this does not paint the aircraft depending on the company, since it provides an external service, performs services, and therefore does not change the configuration or logo of the aircraft. This is because the plane is owned by Hi Fly, but TAP paid for it.”
Ricardo Pinaroa also recalls that Portugal and TAP also used the services of Eastern Airlines, an English company with a British crew.
This week is going to be a real problem for the national airline. At issue is a strike scheduled for December 8-9 called by the National Union of Civil Aviation Personnel (SNPVAC) that will result in the cancellation of more than 360 flights. However, Ricardo Benaroyas admits that the impact of this pause will last for many more days. “The effect of the strike will have effects on the sixth and seventh days and even the fifth itself. On the tenth and eleventh days, its effect will still remain. The effect is not only for the two to stop.”
TAP did not respond not long ago. According to the official, “The Company is making invitations, and I would say very few invitations, to entice crew members to accept certain excursions, to extend their stay outside of what is stipulated in the Company agreement, precisely to offload the strike. On the one hand I am glad that the Company is doing so because it signifies However, she believes that participation will be high and that she is concerned about the strike.
But he adds: «It is unfortunate that they are not interested in trying to solve the problems that led to the discontent of the crew themselves, which led to their strike. that’s what matters to me. And I am very concerned about this attitude, somewhat arrogant, of not wanting to submit a proposal on December 6 to the General Assembly ».
According to the union’s structure, these days it must have a limited minimum supply of service, and steer clear of connections between the mainland and the islands because there are alternatives. “With airspace open to Madeira and the Azores with many companies operating in the islands, it seems to me that minimal services are not warranted. The regional president of Madeira himself has already said that TAP really has little impact on the lives of the people of Madeira,” he says.
The exchange of accusations between the company and the union structure is increasing. TAP CEO Kristin Ormeyer-Widener says the downtime will have an estimated $8 million impact on revenue. The numbers that didn’t sit well with the union, which says it’s wrong. Management claims that the “gain” to be made by the crew with this proposal will be around eight million euros. This is where the great misunderstanding arises. We are not talking about concessions. It’s a crew thing and the company pulled out unilaterally.” He adds that «actually not eight million euros, but the continuous default amounts to more than 12 million euros and that the company owes the crew».
SNPVAC also considers Christine Ormeyer-Widener’s remarks to be “one of the greatest attacks on the class”, an “unconditional and unprecedented exposure” and also “an attempt to pressure and point fingers” by TAP “in a disgraceful manner, with the rest of the group’s workers and public opinion”.
In Nascer do SOL, Ricardo Penarroias rules out an arm of iron. “I don’t want to see things that way. If management sees the dissatisfaction of these workers as an arm-wrestling match, it’s sad and worrying that management will put itself into that mold. What the union claims is their own. These are positions the company must adhere to. I remind you that “Some of our claims were actually filed in mid-March and April. We spent that entire period waiting for the company to take a constructive position to resolve these situations and they didn’t want to resolve them. Strangely enough, the company took advance notice to sit at the table and be able to resolve some of our claims.”
And although acknowledging that the company has gone through a difficult period, the SNPVAC president ensures that “management, instead of being concerned with arm wrestling with us, should be concerned with ensuring social peace. Departments are not evaluated by the number or economic results they provide. That’s a factor. The main factor that a management like TAP has is ensuring social peace. If there is social peace, then surely a company like TAP will be successful, because this is exactly what happened in the past.”
Regarding the statements of the minister overseeing the company who considered that this strike was “the worst that could happen” to TAP, Ricardo Benaroyas said only to Pedro Nuno Santos: “It’s funny. The question I would like to ask the minister is when is the right time to strike? If anyone can explain to me if there is a good time to strike, let me know. It is not the workers who unilaterally decide that they are going to do something serious. Strike is always the last resort unions have when their voice is not heard. Strikes are only used as a last resort. As if I usually say: We have reasons to strike since January 1.”
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