TAP has “tremendous difficulty” in hiring workers

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“I’ve been in TAP for almost 30 years and I remember that everyone wanted” to work in the company, said the leader of the Transport Workers Union of Portugal (STTAMP) in the CPI to TAP.

The leader of the Transport Workers Union of Portugal (STTAMP) said today that TAP currently has a “tremendous difficulty” in hiring workers, to combat labor shortages, because the conditions are not attractive.

“There is a tremendous difficulty in hiring people for TAP, I’ve been at TAP for almost 30 years and I remember that everyone wanted [to work at the company]. And now they don’t, because the conditions are not attractive, the company is in a difficult situation, with wage cuts that it is not foreseen when they can be reversed,” lamented Maria Luís Martins, in the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the airline.

The leader of STTAMP was answering questions from the communist deputy Bruno Dias, about the lack of workers in TAP, after the dismissals made after the beginning of the pandemic, which have caused the cancellation of several flights.

“Really, it’s not an attractive company right now. You have to create stability, social peace, so that people feel it’s a secure job. I personally wouldn’t go to work for TAP now,” he stressed, adding that the union that represents ground workers has been asking for an end to the 25% wage cut “for yesterday.”

In response to PS deputy Rita Borges Madeira, the union leader said that currently communication with the company’s Human Resources is “not healthy” and is “practically null.

“Our disappointment or sadness is that TAP has always been a company very concerned about the workers, very close to the workers. In this last year there is no proximity at all, neither with the management, nor with the [previous] CEO [executive president], nor with the employees,” he pointed out.

When questioned by IL deputy Bernardo Blanco about Groundforce, which provides ground handling services for TAP, STTAMP leader Catarina Silva welcomed the solution found for the company, which is undergoing insolvency proceedings and will be sold to Menzies.

In 2021, Groundforce’s workers were several months behind in their salaries, organized street demonstrations, and led the then Minister of Infrastructures, Pedro Nuno Santos, to mediate the conflict between the workers and the then shareholder Alfredo Casimiro.

“If this solution had not been found, Groundforce would probably not exist today,” the union leader pointed out, adding that this is a strategic company for the country, without which TAP “cannot survive.

About the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, STTAMP regretted TAP’s disinvestment in Porto, a space that has been occupied by other European airlines, especially low cost ones.

Like the unions previously heard by the commission of inquiry, STTAMP also said it was not aware of TAP’s restructuring plan, having been presented by the administration with a ‘power point’ with measures to be adopted at the time of negotiating temporary emergency agreements.

Hugo Patrício Oliveira
Hugo Patrício Oliveira

“We now know from this committee that the European Commission was demanding 20% cuts and not necessarily cuts in workers’ salaries. […] At the time, our view was that there was no other way forward and, in fact, we had to accept this plan and the cuts and try to save the company and then move on to another phase […] or else the company would go into insolvency or a successor regime, alternatives that were not viable for us,” explained Maria Luís Martins, in response to Social Democrat deputy Hugo Patrício Oliveira.

Asked by the PS about the 2015 privatization, Maria Luís Martins said that the union does not see itself in that process.”We hope that now it will be something more thought out, more serious, that we will see the partners, what percentage of the state will remain […], because the privatization of 2015 was done a little bit in a hurry,” she argued.

To end the hearing on a “note of some hope”, the union leader said that the words of the new president of TAP, Luís Rodrigues, in his presentation to the workers, left them confident that “he will manage well” the difficult phase that the company is going through.

Maria Luís Martins
Maria Luís Martins

On the union’s part, Maria Luís Martins guaranteed that everything will be done so that TAP “becomes a source of pride for all the Portuguese once again.

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