Negotiations at AUA at a Standstill: Risk of Strike at Easter Increases

PeopleOther ♦ Published: March 24, 2024; 21:08 ♦ (Vindobona)

An impending strike at Austrian Airlines (AUA) is casting its shadow and threatening the upcoming Easter travel season. The negotiating parties are sticking to their positions regarding the collective agreements and an agreement seems a long way off.

At AUA, a 36-hour strike on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday continues to loom over the important holiday season of Easter. / Picture: © Austrian Airlines / Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Despite intensive efforts, AUA and the vida trade union have so far been unable to agree on a new collective agreement, making a 36-hour strike on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday increasingly likely, as reported by ORF. A total of 430 flights are at stake in the event of a strike. AUA and its customers are facing an uncertain time, while the airline's profitability and the vacation anticipation of thousands of Austrians are at stake.

The deadlocked situation led to the employees' decision to strike on Saturday, while the employers brand such a strike during the critical Easter holiday period as "absolutely irresponsible". The union's willingness to boycott the vacation plans of over 52,000 passengers - including many families with children - has come in for particular criticism.

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) has sharply criticized the attitude of the workforce and warned of serious consequences of a strike for the aviation industry and jobs at AUA. Günther Ofner, Chairman of the Aviation Professional Group in the WKÖ, emphasized that the salary increases of up to 40 percent demanded by the union could seriously jeopardize the airline's financial recovery after the recent crisis.

On the other hand, the workforce sees the average wage increase of 18 percent offered by AUA merely as compensation for inflation and is demanding an appropriate adjustment to the salaries of the parent company Lufthansa. The negotiations appear to be deadlocked and without a new offer from AUA there is a threat of serious industrial action, which could ruin the Easter travel plans of many passengers.