Portugal's Civil Aviation Pilots Union has concluded that talks with TAP management have reached an impasse and its members will decide later this week whether to strike or not.
The pilots’ union can schedule another strike if there is no progress and if its members at two scheduled meetings this week decide that a strike is the best way forward in pressing home their claims.
The union will take "all measures necessary to ensure TAP and the government adopt responsible behavior," according to the union, but TAP management see the union taking advantage of the sensitivity surrounding the forthcoming privatisation.
The union’s gripe is that TAP management and government have not fulfilled that which was "previously agreed with the government" and stresses that is had "sent a written communication to the Secretary of State for Transport on 21st March," to which Sérgio Silva Monteiro has not responded.
The union bosses then tried to contact Monteiro by telephone, without success, to warn of the serious consequences for TAP.
The unions have an issue over two tabled items and accuse TAP management of taking refuge "in false arguments and excuses."
At the end of 2014, strikes were scheduled between 27 and 30 December but the government pulled out a little used piece of legislation and used a ‘civil requisition’ to halt the strike.
By December 24th, nine of the 12 unions had reached an agreement with the Government, part of which was to postpone discussions until now.
TAP is in the run up to privatisation and this sort of union vs management stand-off does little credit to either party which have had years to work out a negotiating formula to ensure flights are not disrupted by strikes, usually the measure of last resort when people are no longer able to discuss things rationally.
The three companies who remain 'interested' in buying TAP, David Neeleman's Azul, German Efromovich's Avianca and Paulo Kakinoff's Gol will have to sort out the unions' grip on this buisness as part of any investment and turnaround, but with the government due to hang on to a third of the shares for a couple of years, full control will remain a distant dream.