Last Update: at 11:23

Dismissal or continuation?

High Noon at Lauda

The dispute between the trade union and management of the Austrian low-cost airline continues. While the future of Lauda in Vienna is currently in danger, the language of documents is sometimes disputed.


Lauda aircraft and an employee: The fight with trade unions is escalating.

In view of the grounding of their fleets as a result of the corona crisis, all airlines are introducing cost-cutting programmes. Including Ryanair and its daughters. The offshoot of the low-cost airline in the United Kingdom, for example, plans to cut wages by 20 percent for all employees, according to a document available to aeroTELEGRAPH. In addition, «productivity improvements in annual leave» are planned. Wage increases are not to take place until 2025.

Employees at Austrian subsidiary Lauda are also to receive less pay. Pilots are to accept a wage reduction of 15 percent, flight attendants one of 5 percent. But for this, Lauda needs the approval of the union Vida. Management has been struggling for weeks to get it.

English is standard language

And it’s still pending. On Friday (May 15), the company had met with representatives of the employee representatives. But the 45 minutes were «wasted», co-heads Andreas Gruber and David O’Brien write in a document available in aeroTELEGRAPH. Vida had demanded the whole time only that the documents be presented in German instead of English.

In fact, Lauda communicates with employees in English. This is the standard language and all working documents are in English, the letter states: «Vida is not interested in saving the A320 jobs in Vienna». If no agreement is reached by May 22, Ryanair threatens to close the Lauda base in Vienna. Routes would then be taken over by Ryanair and operated with Boeing 737s.

300 jobs in Vienna at risk

Around 95 percent of the pilots and 66 percent of the cabin crew have now signed individually that they agree with the planned savings measures, according to Lauda’s management. The union is therefore being asked to accept that the majority of the employees want the approval. They nevertheless expect Vida to reject the measures, Gruber and O’Brien continued.

That is the only reason why they will probably communicate next week that the A320 base in Vienna will be closed. The managers are calling on the remaining employees to sign the documents so that the pressure on Vida can be increased. «This is the only way to save the A320 base in Vienna and the 300 jobs that go with it.»

Balpa refuses to comply with ultimatum

Ryanair also has a dispute with the Balpa trade union in the UK. In the letter outlining the austerity measures, it says that the union has so far refused to accept the terms and conditions, and that in case of doubt, dismissals will have to be made. The union has until Monday (May 18) to react. Balpa, in turn, says that while it is understood that austerity measures are necessary, «this kind of ultimatum» is not a way of doing business.

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