Ground services operator Swissport regrets that trade unions CC.OO, UGT and USO at Spanish airports employ pressure rather than finding consensus

2013-06-28 — / — Swissport, the largest independent operator of ground services to the aviation industry, regrets the industrial action called for by the trade unions CC.OO, UGT and USO at various Spanish airports, which it considers to be the result of the unions preferring pressure to consensus. After hours of negotiations until late on the Thursday, 27th June, with an agreement imminent, one union representative decided to disrupt proceedings. This positioning indicates not only a refusal to seek an agreement but also with timing during the peak  season of the year showing utter disregard for travellers who use Spanish airports and generate income for the Spanish economy.

The two Swissport business units operating in Spain have remained open to talks until the last minute with the hope of reaching agreements that are acceptable to all parties.

Swissport Spain, operating at Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga, Jerez, Almeria, Fuerteventura and Valencia airports, meticulously complies with all elements agreed to in its collective labour agreement. Despite the continued challenging economic conditions within the aviation industry sector, Swissport has increased the wages of its employees for 2013. It is therefore essential to achieve productivity gains through the application of labour flexibility measures permitted by the agreement that are necessary to maintain stable employment and a sustainable business.

Respect for a company agreement
In this sense, Swissport reaffirms its willingness to renegotiate the current agreement which expired in December 2012. Swissport’s commitment is to keep the provisions of the old agreement – which provides conditions of employment well above the industry average – while negotiations for a new agreement are continued. The unions, however, have persisted in demanding improvements over existing conditions that are not reflective of the underlying economic environment where in Spain a 20% decrease in air traffic has occurred since the financial crisis began.

If Swissport were to accept these demands it would compromise the financial sustainability of the operation – and thus the retention of 3,000 jobs in Spain – as its cost structure would be totally beyond any level of competitiveness or that of other suppliers in the industry.

As for its operations in the airports of Madrid-Barajas and Lanzarote, Swissport reiterates the offer made to the union representatives, which implies an agreement on wage revision mechanisms that allow for an increase in the remuneration of its employees. Yet, the revision mechanism cannot consist of an increase that ignores the drop in customer servicing activity mirrored by a parallel decline in the company’s income. This is precisely the situation found at these airports experiencing a significant decrease of air traffic being handled.

If the negative market conditions remain, the increase in wages demanded by unions would leave the company with the only option of reducing the number of staff in order to control costs, while the company’s proposal ensures job stability and moderately improved wages. There are smarter and more flexible alternatives which are mutually beneficial and can lead to improved wages when the economy recovers and, simultaneously, protect jobs in the current situation.

Swissport is doing everything within its power to limit the impact of the industrial action on the airlines it serves and their passengers.

Swissport International Ltd.
 provides ground services for around 118 million passengers and 3.5 million tonnes of cargo a year on behalf of some 650 client-companies in the aviation sector. With a workforce of around 40,000 personnel, Swissport is active at 180 stations in 37 countries on five continents, and generates annual consolidated operating revenue of CHF 1.9 billion.

For further information please contact:

Swissport International Ltd.
Corporate Communications
Sabine Meinitz
P.O. Box
CH-8058 Zurich-Airport
+41 43 812 49 69

Farner Consulting
Kurt Rossi
Oberdorfstrasse 21
CH-8001 Zurich
+41 44 266 67 67