Swiss ground staff get new labour agreement
National airline Swiss has announced its ground staff will benefit from a new collective labour contract from April 1.
The airline and union representatives also agreed on the terms of a severance pay plan for future redundancies, although six out of ten ground staff were not represented at the talks.
The new collective contract is subject to approval by employees, who will have to decide on the issue by the end of March.
Swiss refused to divulge any further details about either document.
However, it said in a statement: "The new collective labour agreement pays... regard to the current corporate restructuring and the intensified competitive environment but also guarantees employees continued socially acceptable employment terms and conditions."
Swiss added that the negotiations with the unions concerned had been "difficult, but always constructive".
The participating unions were named as KV Switzerland, VPOD Air Transport and PUSH. But SEV-GATA, which represents 60 per cent of Swiss ground staff, was not a party to the final talks.
SEV-GATA abandoned negotiations on a new collective labour contract on February 23, saying Swiss was "not ready to negotiate".
According to the union, Swiss was demanding the introduction of a 43-hour week, a cut of two days from the holiday entitlement and a pay freeze.
The struggling carrier announced in September 2004 that it was serving notice on the previous collective contract. This came to an end on March 1.
In December 2004, Swiss announced it was also dumping the collective agreement for cabin crew.
The crisis-ridden airline said a week ago that it was in merger talks with Germany’s Lufthansa, paving the way for a deal that would see the Swiss national carrier swallowed by the German giant.
As a consequence of the ongoing discussions, trading in Swiss’s shares on the Swiss Market Index was suspended on Monday for a day.
A deal with Lufthansa could be announced on Tuesday.
Swiss served notice on the collective labour agreement held by Swiss-based ground staff in September 2004.
This came to an end on March 1, 2005.
In December, Swiss served notice on the labour agreement held by cabin crew; negotiations are ongoing.
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