Industrial action threatened by Adria Airways’ pilots and designed to force the hand of the airline’s management has been averted at the eleventh hour, with an as of yet unreported agreement thrashed out between both parties through the pilots’ trade union representatives.
Consternation this year within Adria’s rank and file has been widely reported and whilst broader issues remain outstanding, strike action slated for November 30th was predicated on Slovenia’s flag carrier cancelling the previously adhered to Collective Bargaining Agreement that outlined working conditions and salary expectation for the airline’s pilots. Trade union demands were rebuffed, as is so often the case but formed a jumping off point for negotiations, if only to highlight the widening chasm between Adria and its aviators. Although the consensus reached over ending numerous reported violations of workers’ rights and the significant disparity between salary increases demanded by unions and the amount to which Adria were willing to go to has for the time being remained confidential, it is possible the shelving of industrial action is but a stay of execution whilst talks remain ongoing. It appears that there is only a deal to avert strike action, rather than to say the reasons behind it have actually been resolved.
Undoubtedly uppermost in the pilots’ minds was the potential harm industrial action would cause to the ongoing privatisation of Adria Airways, which always seems to be on the verge of passing from public ownership during talks often described as being at an ‘advanced stage’. The emergency recapitalisation of the airline, deemed necessary to see it through the fiscally-difficult winter season requires a capital injection of €8 million, previously assumed to come from Adria’s future owner. The need for a liquidity boost will though come as a nasty surprise to the companies behind the legally binding expressions of interest in the Brnik-based airline, who perhaps wouldn’t have anticipated such a significant caveat to their potential purchase of Adria at the time of their bids. It would seem that to avoid another state bail out the airline’s future proprietor will be given an inducement of many of Adria’s debts being downgraded, deferred or possibly written off. Much though of the airline’s future remains firmly ‘in the air’, ironically the airborne state it will only continue to maintain should the state or its suitor of choice stump up the requisite funds.
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