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Holiday misery ahead as TAP strike talks fail

airbusDecember 27 to December 30, 2014, these are the days that will see TAP’s flights grounded as 11 of the 12 unions represented in the TAP unions platform is sticking to its joint intention to go on strike.

There are an estimated 130,000 seats booked on TAP flights over these busy four days and already over 20,000 reservations have been cancelled or travel dates altered.

The strike issue started out as one concerning working conditions and pay but rapidly escalated to a fight over privatisation with the Minister for the Economy Pires de Lima locked in negotiations last week but only able to offer more talks about talks on the condition the unions went back to work.

Union bosses were empowered yesterday by some sabre rattling talk from a former President of the Republic Mario Soares which did nothing to help calm the waters.

Soares’ comment that the privatisation of TAP "is something unpatriotic that is not acceptable" was particularly inflammatory and Pires de Lima’s position later was marginalised by the Prime Minister who entered the fray with a tough stance, saying that ‘there are two paths to the recapitalisation of TAP: its division into two companies, with the consequent collective dismissals, or privatisation.’

This was seen as bullying by the Left Bloc and by the union bosses who shortly afterwards announced that the strike would go ahead as planned unless TAP’s privatisation was suspended.

The only chink in the unions’ armour has been the withdrawal of the cabin staff union which does not agree with the way things are going.

The airline management at least has apologised to passengers for the problems which it says are "out of its hands," and to a large extent they are as the unions and the government face each other in the ring. The estinmated €30 million loss of income will hit the airlines profit and loss account this financial year, serving to reduce the price any potential purchaser is willing to stump up.

Passos Coelho’s stance on the TAP sale weakened slightly today as he commented, "TAP simply will not be sold if we do not get any interest under the conditions that the state has decided on,” adding the old standby that "it was a Socialist Party government that started the privatisation of TAP" and that "the memorandum of understanding with the Troika included the sale of the national airline.”

This Troika reference is nonsense of course as the Troika has never been interested which state assets are sold off, only in the total raised.

"None of this is new," said Passos Coelho who has failed to propose any sort of privatisation deal that will engage and enthuse the unions, he merely noted that 'the process of privatisation for TAP is essential to ensure the future of that airline.'

This places the government face to face with the unions and with a growing element of public opinion.  

 

 

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Comments  

-3 #1 Francis 2014-12-19 19:19
It is very revealing to be told on tv that all the Portuguese tourism sector is 'strategically important'.

Why was this not spelt out decades ago in Brussels - that Portugal had given itself this 'opt out ' ?

Instead of this country deceitfully cheating thousands of north Europeans out of their life savings, pensions, retirements and bank loans in reaching for something that was never achievable in Portugal ?

That it would never be possible for 'us' ordinary folk to set up in tourism ?

Yet having dishonestly signed the Lisbon Treaty supposedly allowing other EU citizens to do just that!

No wonder the Portuguese Man of War is a spineless jelly fish! The early biologists were spot on!

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