|Pilots and management set two-month deadline for new deal|
Adria Airways' pilots have called off a planned strike scheduled to take place next Monday after reaching an initial deal with the airline's management to further negotiate the terms of a new collective agreement. The two sides have set a deadline for January 31, 2016 to settle the terms of a new comprehensive bargaining contract and engage in regular dialogue. In case the two sides fail to find common ground, the Union of Slovenian Pilots will revive plans for industrial action. The company says it is satisfied with the temporary arrangement as it will avoid a "crippling" and "unnecessary" strike. Pilots are unhappy with violations to their collective agreement which was cancelled by the management on October 2014 but continues to be enforced until a new one is inked.
Earlier this month, the Union of Slovenian Pilots announced a work stoppage on November 30, which would have lasted from 05.00 until midnight. In addition to fairer working conditions, pilots are also demanding an increase in wages. Adria offered its pilots a 7.3% salary hike and more flexible workplace conditions in order to boost productivity but said the union's terms were "unacceptable". This summer, the airline's management narrowly avoided a cabin crew walk out over similar issues. Local media report that Adria is likely to end the year with a five million euro net loss, following on from a small profit in 2014 and several years of restructuring.
The strike would have come at a critical time for the carrier, which is in the final stages of its privatisation process, with stakeholders seeking to sell a 91.6% share in the company. This Monday, shareholders were to decide on an eight million euro capital injection in an attempt to boost the airline's liquidity, however, the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), which is overseeing Adria's privatisation, called for the meeting to be postponed. It has now been rescheduled for December. The SSH hopes for the capital to be provided by a potential buyer, but is first seeking for Adria's owners and creditors to write off a share of the airline's debt in order to make it more appealing to investors. Three German companies are said to be vying for a majority stake. Earlier this week, the independent state-owned maintenance company Adria Airways Tehnika was sold to Poland's Linetech Holding.