Austrian Airlines Is Threatened With a Strike from its Personnel

OrganizationsOther ♦ Published: March 28, 2023; 23:50 ♦ (Vindobona)

In a work meeting on Tuesday, Austrian Airlines' (AUA) onboard staff rejected the proposed new collective agreement. There is now a deadline of April 6 for the negotiations to continue. A strike is imminent if no agreement is reached.

The Austrian Airlines Onboard Staff Wants to Negotiate Better Wages for them and if an Agreement is not Reached Until April 6, A Strike Will be Imminent. / Picture: © Austrian Airlines / Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Around 1,200 pilots and flight attendants attended the meeting. According to AUA, salaries would be raised by at least ten percent. However, the merger of two salary scales would result in an average salary increase of 12.3 percent. For flight attendants in the lower pay grades, the offer would even mean an increase in income of up to 23 percent. In addition, the ten percent salary sacrifice was ended two years earlier than agreed and a cost-of-living adjustment of up to 3,000 euros was paid for 2022. According to the union, however, only an offer of a ten percent pay rise has been made. In any case, the on-board staff agreed to emphasize their demands with industrial action if the negotiations do not produce a result by April 6, according to Die Presse.

As reported by Kurier, the on-board staff are not well disposed toward AUA management, as the works meeting showed, because the second and third management levels will receive bonuses for 2022, but the workforce had to shoulder a savings package with up to 10 percent salary losses. According to AUA, these are "individual contractual salary components", and the executives had "made a disproportionate contribution to the crisis during the crisis".

AUA regretted that adjustments to the flight schedule had become necessary because of the works meeting. "On the company side, every effort is being made to keep any impact to a minimum," a spokeswoman said. In total, about 7,800 passengers were affected by adjustments, she said. Austrian Airlines was rebooking affected passengers with contact options and could also draw on the Lufthansa Group network here. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that more passengers were expected to fly on Tuesday because many flights had been canceled on Monday due to the warning strike in German air traffic. Flights on short- and medium-haul routes were the main ones to be canceled. On long-haul routes, one flight each to New York, Chicago, and Montreal are affected, as stated by ORF.

\Spokeswoman of the representing Union Vida Yvonne Heuber said “There must be an acceptable offer on the table, otherwise there will be further industrial action. It cannot be ruled out that these will start as early as Good Friday. Strike action is never the goal, we want to solve at the negotiating table, but that is now up to AUA management.", as reported by Kurier. On the part of the union, immediate cancellation of the austerity package is demanded, as well as a salary agreement that compensates for inflation and brings a real wage gain.