RTravelers at Berlin Airport BER have to prepare for flight cancellations and delays on Friday morning due to a warning strike at Easyjet. The Verdi union has called on around 450 of the company’s cabin employees to stop working at the Schönefeld site between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., the union announced on Thursday. The reason for this is the ongoing pay round for cabin crew.
“The employers have not presented us with a new offer to increase remuneration and thus provoked the warning strike themselves,” said Verdi negotiator Holger Rößler on Thursday. The union is demanding compensation for the current price increases, but at least five percent more salary and a one-off payment in the amount of a monthly salary including shift and so-called sector allowance. The collective agreement is to run until December 31, 2022. “The exorbitantly increased prices and the large additional burden on board due to the chaotic restart phase of the entire industry show that our demands are more than justified,” emphasized Rößler.
Easyjet recently announced that it would reduce its Berlin-based fleet from 18 to eleven aircraft from October. The airline cited an unexpectedly weaker recovery in demand and rising airport fees as reasons. Easyjet wants to focus on profitable routes. Around 275 cockpit and cabin employees may have to go. Easyjet had been the largest airline in the capital since Air Berlin went bankrupt in 2017, but had almost halved its fleet from 34 to 18 planes after the outbreak of the Corona crisis in 2020.
Scandinavian airline SAS also shortly before strike
Air travelers in Scandinavia could also face problems in the middle of the holiday season. Hundreds of SAS airline pilots have announced a strike from the end of June. After failed negotiations between the pilots’ associations and the company, the group and the authorities were informed of the plans, the Swedish pilots’ association SPF announced on Thursday. No agreement has been reached in the negotiations that have been ongoing since November 2021 and are therefore forced to strike in Sweden, Norway and Denmark from June 29.
The financially troubled SAS criticized the strike warning. Communications chief Karin Nyman told Swedish news agency TT that it shows an appalling lack of understanding of the situation the airline finds itself in. You fight every day. Changes are needed, to which everyone must contribute. The demands made are impossible.
Company rejects settlement proposal
Among other things, the pilots’ association accused the SAS leadership of having used the pandemic over the past two years to fire almost half of the pilots with an agreed right to reinstatement, but to have overridden this right. The collective agreements also expired on March 31 without a new agreement having been reached. After a proposal containing significant savings had been rejected by the SAS leadership, they saw no other way out than the strike and the search for a solution through arbitration.
According to the newspaper “Dagens Nyheter”, around 900 pilots in Scandinavia could go on strike if the SAS leadership does not meet them. Around 250 flights and 45,000 travelers a day could be affected.
The last SAS pilots’ strike in 2019 lasted a good seven days. Almost 4000 flights in Denmark, Sweden and Norway were canceled at the time. A total of 360,000 travelers were affected. The airline, which was in financial difficulties, was costing millions every day at the time.