TAP uses the Bulgarian airline

TAP recorre a companhia búlgara

By Sónia Peres Pinto and Daniela Soares Ferreira

ATAP uses Bulgaria Air aircraft for some flights to Europe. As Nascer do SOL discovered, there is at least one case where half of the plane is painted in TAP’s colors and the other part with the symbol of the Bulgarian company. The crew also has the same nationality, i.e. they cannot speak Portuguese. The president of the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC) is aware of these situations, but admits they are not returning.

“Occasionally, one or the other situation may arise. Even because the number of Bulgarian crew members is small. What is happening? Due to the Embraers there was a delay and TAP had to resort to outsourcing. This external recruitment, in the case of Portugália, hired Air Bulgaria with their technical crew,” says Ricardo Penarroias.

The official also reveals that the company experienced an increase in operations between October and November and was “forced” to resort to more cabin crew. “There may have been a specific problem regarding the crews, in a period of time that I cannot specify. Now in recent months there are Air Bulgaria aircraft operating TAP aircraft».

Regarding the fact that the planes are not marked with the company’s symbols, the president of SNPVAC guarantees that this is a recurring practice. «TAP also recruits Hi Fly and this does not paint the aircraft depending on the company, as it provides an external service, it does the services, and therefore it does not change the configuration or the logo of the aircraft. This is because the plane belongs to Hi Fly, but TAP paid for it».

Ricardo Penarroias also recalls that Portugália and TAP also used the services of Eastern Airways, an English company with a British crew.

quit week

This week is going to be a real headache for the national carrier. It concerns the strike scheduled for December 8 and 9, called by the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC), which will lead to the cancellation of more than 360 flights. However, Ricardo Penarroias admits that the impact of this interruption will last for more days. “The impact of the strike will affect the 6th, 7th and even the 5th itself. On the 10th and 11th it will still be there. The impact is not just for the two of the stoppage».

And TAP’s response was not long in coming. According to the official, “the company is making invitations, I would say very few serious ones, to entice crew members to accept certain flights, to extend their stay beyond what is stipulated in the company agreement, precisely to deflate the strike. On the one hand, I’m glad the company is doing this because it shows that it believes participation will be high and that it’s concerned about the strike.”

But he adds: “It’s a pity they don’t engage in trying to solve the problems that led to the crew’s own discontent, which led to a strike. That’s what concerns me. And I am very concerned about this somewhat arrogant attitude of not wanting to present a proposal to the General Assembly on December 6».

According to the union structure, it should now have a limited minimum service offering and move away from connections between the mainland and the islands because there are alternatives. «With the opening of airspace to Madeira and the Azores with several companies operating to the islands, it seems to me that it is not justified to have minimum services. The regional president of Madeira himself has said that TAP already has little impact on the lives of Madeirans,” he says.

iron arm?

The exchange of accusations between the company and the union structure is increasing in tone. Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO of TAP, says this shutdown is estimated to have an impact of eight million on revenue. Figures that did not go down well with the union, which says they are a mistake. «The administration claims that the ‘profit’ that the crew would have with this proposal would be around eight million euros. This is where the big misunderstanding arises. We’re not talking about concessions. It’s something that belongs to the crew and that the company has unilaterally withdrawn». And he adds that “in reality it is not eight million euros, but constant defaults exceeding 12 million euros that the company owes to the crew”.

The SNPVAC also considers Christine Ourmières-Widener’s statements to be “one of the greatest attacks on the classroom”, “an unqualified and unprecedented exposure” and also an “attempt to pressure and point the finger” of TAP “in an embarrassing way, with the rest of the group’s employees and the public opinion».

At Nascer do SOL, Ricardo Penarroias rules out the existence of an iron arm. “I don’t want to see things that way. If management sees employee dissatisfaction as an arm wrestling match, then it is sad and worrying that management would put themselves in that mold. What the union claims is part of it. These are situations that the company must adhere to. And I remind you that some of our claims have already been filed in mid-March and April. We’ve had to wait this entire period for the company to take a constructive position to resolve these situations and it didn’t want to fix it. Oddly enough, it took the company upfront to sit down at the table and resolve some of our claims».

And despite acknowledging that the company is going through a rough patch, SNPVAC’s president assures that “instead of arm-wrestling with us, the administration should be concerned with ensuring social peace. Administrations are not judged by the number or economic results they present. This is a factor. The most important factor that an administration like TAP has is to guarantee social peace. If there is social peace, a company like TAP will certainly be successful, because that is exactly what happened in the past».

As for the statements made by the minister supervising the company who considered that this strike was «the worst thing that could happen to TAP», Ricardo Penarroias says only to Pedro Nuno Santos: «It’s funny. The question I would like to ask the minister is when is it a good time to strike? If someone can explain to me if there is a good time to strike, please let me know. It is not the workers who unilaterally decided that they were going to do something serious. The strike is always the last resort unions have when their voices are not heard. A strike is only used as a last resort. It is as I usually say: we have reasons to strike since January 1”.

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