|Adria Airways pilots schedule day-long strike|
Pilots at Slovenia's Adria Airways have announced a strike for Friday March 18 in an attempt to force the company's management to sign a new collective bargaining agreement. The strike action will run between five in the morning and midnight on March 18 in Ljubljana, Tirana, Pristina, Tallinn, Prague and Berlin. The Union of Slovenian Pilots planned industrial action on two previous occasions over the same matter, most recently on November 30, 2015. However, at the time, the union and management agreed to finalise a new collective agreement by January 31, 2016, which has not occurred. Pilots have deemed the management's conduct as a foot-dragging tactic and labelled the tough and lengthy negotiations as a sham.
Adria Airways' CEO, Mark Anžur, says the management's hands are ties due to the finalisation of the carrier's privatisation process, which will see the German turnaround fund, 4K Invest, take a 91.6% share in the company. As a result, Mr Anžur says the collective agreement cannot be signed. "Adria Airways is in the final stage of its privatisation. Therefore, the Management Board has no authority to sign a collective agreement", Mr Anžur noted. 4K Invest is expected to acquire its shares in the airline by late April. Adria's pilots say they will not carry out their duties during the planned strike in two weeks time, however, it is still uncertain whether all flights will be affected.
In October 2014, Adria’s trade unions were informed that all collective agreements would be annulled if they failed to agree to new cost cutting measures by the end of the year. Since all of the airline’s unions rejected the measures, the collective agreements were terminated, while pilots are still negotiating the terms of their new agreements. The trade union is demanding for an increase in wages and for the management to tackle violations of the cancelled collective agreement, which continues to be enforced until a new one is negotiated. The planned industrial action will come a week ahead of the busy Easter travel period, as well as the start of the 2016 summer season, during which Adria will launch several new routes and boost frequencies across its network.