Swiss announces pay freeze for ground staff
The national carrier, Swiss, has told ground staff that they won’t be getting a pay rise next year, citing “economic reasons”.
The airline’s 2,000 ground staff had been calling for a six per cent increase to compensate for higher living costs.
“The unions demanded that employee purchasing power be retained. Swiss will not consider this demand for economic reasons,” said the carrier in a short statement on Wednesday.
Swiss said salary negotiations involving the company and the four unions representing ground staff were now over.
But the airline said it was prepared to extend the current social plan, which was due to expire at the end of the year, until the end of March 2005.
Unions reacted angrily to the news. In a statement, the Groundstaff Aviation Technics and Administration Union criticised Swiss for “not leaving any room for manoeuvre during the negotiations”.
The union, which represents 60 per cent of ground staff, wanted a six per cent salary increase to offset the drop in purchasing power over the past few years.
It added that ground staff were conscious of the economic downturn in the aviation industry and were prepared to accept the introduction of a 42-hour week.
The union said it would call a meeting to decide its next step and warned of the possibility of protest action over the Christmas period.
The announcement by Swiss comes two days after the airline told 3,200 cabin-crew staff that it would scrap their collective labour contract at the end of the year.
The carrier delivered the same message to ground staff three months ago.
Swiss is still facing difficult times despite posting its first quarterly profit in November.
At the time, the airline said it would try to keep costs down to ensure its survival.
swissinfo with agencies
Swiss was created in 2002 following Swiss the collapse of Swissair.
It employs 7,400 people, of which 1,200 are pilots and 3,200 air personnel.
In the first nine months of 2004, Swiss transported seven million passengers and 223,000 tons of merchandise.
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