Pay cuts anger Croatia Airlines pilots
Croatia Airlines pilots have issued a strike threat after they refused to sign the latest collective agreement which foresees a 20% pay cut. The airline’s pilots union unanimously rejected the proposed collective agreement on Thursday. Talks between the airline’s management and pilots broke down on March 28 after which a process of reconciliation began. “Since the reconciliation has failed we plan to go on strike”, Zoran Bilić, the President of the Croatia Airlines Pilots Union said. Bilić notes that a strike date still hasn’t been set in order to give the management the opportunity to either revise the planned collective agreement or extend the previous one which expired on April 1.
The average wage of a Croatia Airlines pilot amounts to 3.000 euros, which, according to the union, is amongst the lowest in Europe. The new collective agreement would reduce pay by 20%, cut down on non working days and holidays. “Each year we are asked to work more for less”, Bilić notes. He adds that the management is constantly threatening its 137 pilots with redundancies. “We are aware of the difficult situation our airline finds itself in. It is in all of our interests for Croatia Airlines to prosper, however, in the management’s offer we see no way out of this crisis, only the continuation of this agony”, the head of the union says.
Croatia Airlines has said it has not received any official word from the head of the pilots union regarding the strike. “The new collective agreement would secure financial stability for the company and all of its employees”, the airline said in a statement. Furthermore, it adds that due to the company’s restructuring program, it cannot extend the terms of the previous collective agreement which expired at the start of April. Croatian pilots last staged a strike in March 2012.