SWISS Reaches An Agreement With Cabin Crew On Crisis Package

Switzerland national flag carrier SWISS has announced that it has reached an agreement with its kapers cabin crew union in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The deal is for the 2021-2023 timeframe and includes prospects for post-COVID-19.

swiss cabin crew agreement
The agreement between SWISS and its cabin crew is only for a couple of years. Photo: SWISS

The time-limited package of action will now be submitted to kapers union members for a vote at the earliest opportunity. Founded in 1971, kapers is the largest representative of cabin crew members employed by air carriers in Switzerland. 

The new agreement is time-limited

In response to the current coronavirus climate, the saving measures included in the package will only run until the end of 2023. After this time, the current agreement that the SWISS cabin crew enjoys will return and stay in force until at least 2025. The time-limited package of actions for SWISS’s largest group of employees intends to better manage staffing levels and cut costs while the Lufthansa Group airline battles COVID-19. In the cabin crew package, SWISS says it offers several attractive offers that include voluntary early retirement and the chance to only work part-time.

“This raft of actions will make a substantial contribution to the rigorous savings program that we have had to embark on in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” says Head of Cabin Crew Reto Schmid in a press release seen by Simple Flying.

“It will also play a vital part in securing SWISS jobs.”

Staff turnover will account for job losses

After negotiation between SWISS and kapers, the union has agreed for its members to contribute a 10% reduction in pay between now and 2023. Naturally occurring staff turnover is expected to lead to a further 10% reduction based on levels seen over the past few years. The obligatory referendum that kaper union members must vote on will begin as soon as possible. Once union members agree to the cost savings, they will come into force by March 2021.

SWISS cabin crew
SWISS thinks that natural staff turnover will be enough to prevent layoffs. Photo: SWISS

When the coronavirus pandemic has passed, and airlines begin to recover, both SWISS and kapers are hopeful of implementing the collective bargaining agreement they signed pre-COVID-19. There are several substantial improvements to the SWISS cabin crew’s pay and working conditions in the pre-coronavirus agreement. Still, it was never put to a union member vote due to the pandemic.

“It is important to us to offer our cabin personnel attractive prospects now for the post-corona times,” emphasizes Reto Schmid. 

Swiss is parking older planes

Kaper union members will be allowed to vote on whether or not to accept the new collective labor as soon as SWISS resolves its current financial difficulties.

Airbus A220s will replace older planes on routes over the winter. Photo: SWISS

Overall, SWISS is looking to cut its payroll by around 1,000 positions over the next two years. In a further move to reduce costs, SWISS is withdrawing 28 older Airbus A320 aircraft for its winter schedule. All short and medium-haul flights will be operated using SWISS Airbus A220s and neo versions of the A320 and A321.

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