Strike action timed precisely to undermine the start of Adria Airways’ summer season flight programme has for the time being been averted, the Slovenian flag-carrier’s cabin crew withdrawing the threat to down tools on June 1st, a date that coincides with the launch of arguably Adria’s highest profile route in recent times between Maribor and London Southend.
Talks designed to find common ground between the Brnik-based airline’s management and unions are now scheduled for Tuesday 2nd June, the stakes remaining high for both parties where wriggle room will be in short supply around the negotiating table. Whilst sensitive to industrial action that could compromise much of the positive data and forecasts recently emanating from Adria, the airline will be mindful that quite simply, without a cabin crew there can be no flights. As a side issue but one no less pertinent the union representing Slovenia’s(and Adria’s) pilots has independently voiced its concerns regarding working conditions and the ongoing viability of an airline heavily reliant on leased aircraft, only one of the twelve it will operate this summer being owned by Adria. There are also reports that Adria’s pilots are formulating an offer for the state-owned airline, one of the fifteen public sector companies earmarked for privatisation by Slovenia’s incumbent administration.
It would appear Adria is in little mood to accede to union ultimatums but a workable consensus will need to be brokered before what is regarded as the peak trading season for airlines. Whilst unions often reign themselves in from their initial demands that amount to little more than threats and posturing, it seems the negotiation process between both parties has little common ground, especially since collective bargaining agreements were invalidated at the end of 2014 due to unions refusing to acquiesce to Adria’s planned cutbacks, traditionally something they are loathed to do. Furthermore, unilateral airline-backed replacement agreements announced to come into force in 2016 have unsurprisingly been rejected. With the stakes being so high discussions on Tuesday could see the beginning of the end to hostility between both parties or, just the start of a summer of discontent and acrimony.
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