Swiss Pilots to Ballot Its Members

A delegation from the Committee of the Swiss Pilots (CCP) union of former Crossair cockpit personnel met with SWISS Executive Management today, Wednesday, to discuss the pilots’ Collective Labour Agreement.  In the course of these discussions, the CCP delegation announced that it would be asking its members to vote on the strategy to be adopted.  The CCP declined to provide details of precisely what its members would be invited to vote on.  The CCP submitted a proposal for former Crossair pilots’ salaries to SWISS Executive Management at the end of last week.  The CCP delegation refused to discuss SWISS Executive Management’s own proposal, which was also presented last week, at today’s meeting.  The CCP delegation also declined to agree a new date for further discussions.  SWISS Executive Management will now present its own position to the former Crossair pilots directly in a series of meetings to be held in Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Lugano.  The SWISS Board and Executive Management have emphasised that they will abide by all the provisions of the Basic Collective Labour Agreement which the company has already concluded with the Aeropers pilots’ union.   
The Board and Executive Management of SWISS welcome the fact that the former Crossair pilots who are members of the Swiss Pilots (CCP) union will now be able to voice their views directly.  SWISS expects the referendum among the union’s members to include its own proposed solution which was presented by its Board and Executive Management on Tuesday, July 30, and which offered enhancements worth a total of CHF 16 million to the pilots concerned. 
The proposal would, SWISS feels, ensure due and full compliance with the ruling by the court of arbitration regarding the Basic Collective Labour Agreement concluded in March with the Aeropers union of former Swissair cockpit personnel.  The court ruled that the terms of employment of former Crossair and former Swissair pilots should only differ in cases where such differentiation was justified in technical terms.  The court thus demanded modifications to the vacation and bonus regulations for former Crossair pilots and equal salaries for pilots assigned to the MD-80 (ex-Crossair) and Airbus A320 (ex-Swissair) fleets
The CCP Committee presented SWISS Executive Management with an alternative proposal at the end of last week.  Under this proposal, all SWISS flight operations would be divided between a European and an intercontinental fleet.  Following this, the automatic years-of-service-related annual salary increments would be abolished and the salaries frozen for all former Crossair and former Swissair pilots operating the European fleet.  The cost savings which these actions would achieve would then be used to finance annual salary increases of some 4% for the former Crossair pilots on the European fleet, while the salaries of the former Swissair pilots on the same fleet would remain frozen at their present levels.  This, the CCP Committee maintains, would raise the salaries of the pilots on the regional fleet to those of the pilots operating the medium-haul fleet. 
In contrast to this, however, the court of arbitration envisaged that, in addition to years of service, pilots’ salaries should be based on the size of the aircraft flown, as is the international convention in the air transport sector.  This principle laid down by the court would be violated by the CCP Committee’s proposal for SWISS’s European operations.

The SWISS Board and Executive Management therefore reject the CCP Committee’s proposal in view of its disregard of the principle laid down by the court.  SWISS also finds the CCP Committee’s proposal impossible to accept because it would result in a violation of the Basic Collective Labour Agreement already concluded with Aeropers, whose principles are now protected by the court’s acceptance of its validity. 

The CCP Committee’s proposal would also put the former Swissair pilots of the European fleet at a severe disadvantage.  While their former Crossair colleagues would enjoy annual salary increases, the former Swissair pilots would have no further annual salary increments and, in some cases, would have their salaries frozen at their present levels for the rest of their career, which in some cases could amount to over 25 years.
In this connection, SWISS Executive Management also wishes to point out that, in agreeing to accept the new SWISS/Aeropers Basic Collective Labour Agreement, the former Swissair pilots have already incurred salary reductions of up to 35%.  The SWISS Board and Executive Management fully intend to honour all the provisions enshrined in the Basic Collective Labour Agreement.
SWISS also rejects the Swiss Pilots Committee’s argument that its proposal would have no adverse impact on costs.  The CCP Committee’s model would make SWISS regional operations substantially more expensive, to a point at which their very viability may be threatened. 

The SWISS Board and Executive Management therefore expect their own (i.e. SWISS’s) proposal to be submitted to Swiss Pilots members.  SWISS Executive Management regrets that the CCP delegation would make no commitment to do so at its meeting today.  SWISS Executive Management will now inform the members of Swiss Pilots itself of the CHF 16 million package approved by the SWISS Board through a series of information events to be held in Basel, Zurich, Geneva and Lugano.
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