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Voluntary Redundancies Sought in Portugal’s Airports

ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal has announced that they are seeking voluntary redundancies’ as part of a major post Covid-19 re-structuring scheme.

In an announcement by the companys president, Thierry Ligonniere, he said that “In the face of a crisis that we now know expect to last for some time, it is essential that we resize our teams.  As part of this, I have asked each department to identify their current needs so that in conjunction with Human Resources a voluntary redundancy package can be put together. Three months ago, the foreseeable effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our business led us to initiate an important cost reduction plan to ensure that the company maintains sufficient cash flow in order to meet our obligations until the end of the year when air travel and tourism are expected to restart.” However, he went on to say that “taking into account that air traffic came almost to a standstill, a large part of the services provided were renegotiated and some were internalised, postponed or simply cancelled. The group also reviewed its current investments, carried out maintenance work for which the company either had contractual or regulatory obligations and undertook other urgent maintenance work.”

At present air traffic recovery is far slower than we expected, and the future remains uncertain, said the ANA President, who went on to say that the financial situation of both TAP and SATA, plus the exclusion of Portugal from air corridors with the United Kingdom, is a cause of “growing concern.”

In an effort to contain costs and streamline the business, Thierry Ligonnière, added that it is necessary to introduce a voluntary redundancy scheme as an initial way of resolving staffing issues; however, he did not rule out enforced redundancies.  He went on to say that “employees will be able to opt for a reduction of working hours by 20% until the end of the year but this in turn means they agree to accept 90% of their current salary.  Others will be invited to move towards teleworking, meaning that there will only be a 10% drop in their normal working hours, but again, they will only receive 90% of their salary. Again this is until the end of the year.

In response to Thierry Ligonnière’s statement two unions, Sitava (Union of Aviation and Airport Workers) and Sindav (Democratic Union of Airport and Aviation Workers), referred to a meeting held on the 7th of July between workers’ and company representatives when it was agreed that activity at Portugal’s airports was ‘recovering.’  Furthermore, the unions could not ignore the fact that ANA is one of the most profitable businesses in the country and that, year on year, ANA has recorded high profits, allowing the company to be a prominent player in the Portuguese business market. Moreover, the unions pointed out that the company’s annual wage bill is ‘very low’ compared to the company’s annual outgoings.

Finally, they consider that ANA Aeroportos de Portugal does not currently need to move forward with their redundancy plan, as to do so would be abusive and show little consideration for its workers.

Samantha Gannon

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