TAP Air Portugal is preparing for a smaller fleet size and a massive reduction in the number of people it employs, while at the same time scaling back the salaries of the people who can retain their jobs. The indebted airline is preparing to cut 3,600 people from its 10,600 strong workforce while also getting rid of 17 aircraft.
According to Portugal Resident, the cuts will reduce staff wages by around €187.5 million ($225 million) per year. It hopes to convince the European Union that the €1.2 billion ($1.44 billion) state loan that the airline negotiated with the Portuguese government makes fiscal sense.
￼TAP has ten days to prepare its plan
While different Portuguese media outlets are quoting a wide spectrum of numbers, it looks like at least 1,600 contracts will not be renewed. The speculation is that as many as 500 pilots, 750 cabin crew, and 750 ground staff will lose their jobs.
While the restructuring plan remains open, TAP Air Portugal has only ten days left before presenting its economic plan to the European Commission. Meanwhile, its management team, led by the Portuguese government due to its 72.5 % stake in the airline, plans to meet with airline employee unions on December 2, at 10:00.
Unions are against the cuts
For their part, the airline employee unions do not see the reasoning behind getting rid of so many jobs. However, they also know that the threat of strikes would certainly work against them. Over the weekend, the secretary-general of Sitava – the syndicate of aviation and airport workers- told the press the following:
“This is what TAP wants, in order not to pay our salaries.”
It described the measures outlined so far as “stupid, provocative and unrealistic.”
In fact, Sousa believes that if TAP Portugal management gets its way, it will spell the airline’s end. TAP Air Portugal has been losing money for years, but it is now further accentuated by the crippling losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SNPVAC TAP Air Portugal’s cabin crew union says that it is shocked by what it calls the “brutal cut in staff and salaries outlined”, saying its members will not accept such measures “peacefully”.
The restructuring will be like a“surgical operation”
This past summer, when the Portuguese government was negotiating to increase its stake in the national carrier in a bid to save the airline, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that a future restructuring of the airline would have to be like a surgical operation saying, “no one tells the patient that it will go ahead without pain.”
￼￼In other TAP Air Portugal related news, the airline has decided to scrap its bi-monthly onboard Portuguese and English language magazine “UP-Dare to Dream Higher” after 13 years. The publication aimed to showcase the best of what Portugal had to offer and was recently awarded the best European in-flight magazine at the World Travel Awards.
According to the website Portugal News Online, the publication was suspended in March due to the coronavirus and has now been canceled for good.
What do you think about TAP Air Portugal’s plan to get rid of so many staff? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.