Portuguese American Journal

Walkout: TAP pilots will stage holiday strike – Portugal

The Portuguese Civil Aviation Pilots’ Union (SPAC), representing TAP Air Portugal pilots, said Wednesday recent negotiations with the company made no progress and that pilots will go ahead with an eight-day strike over the holiday period.

SPAC has called a strike for December 9-12 and January 3-6. It represents 718 of the airline’s about 800 pilots.

The government run flag carrier says around 100,000 passengers have reservations for the first four-day strike period. It estimates the walkout will cost it 5 million-euro ($6.7 USD million) a day.

The strike could cost an estimated 40 million-euro, according to Lisbon-based Diário Económico. The last strike by SPAC, staged in September 2009, lasted for two days and cost TAP around 10 million-euro.

SPAC said in a previous statement that the decision to strike is a demand to TAP’s administration “to comply with the rules of the company labor contract and to reinstate a working environment respectful of the parity between pilots and the administration.”

According to SAPC, the decision to strike also demands that the government approves of pilots taking part in the decision making progress to privatize the airline, as provided by the labor contract signed in 1999. TAP Air Portugal (TAP) is scheduled for privatization as part of Portugal’s financial recovery plan.

SPAC also requests “access to the information pilots need to make an independent assessment of the company.” SPAC stressed that the decision to strike is not related to a request for higher compensation.