Austrian Airlines Flights Canceled Amid Worker Pay Talks
March 28, 2023
BYJAKE HARDIMAN, Simple Flying
Passengers traveling with Austrian Airlines are faced with the potential of extensive disruption today amid ongoing wage talks between trade unions and the airline's employees. With workers demanding higher pay and meetings on the matter still underway, the Austrian flag carrier has had to cancel scores of flights as a result.
Cancelations reportedly set to hit three figures
Data from FlightAware showed, at the time of writing, that 36 Austrian Airlines flights (12% of its daily schedule) had been canceled thus far, with another three being delayed. However, Bloomberg notes that the strike action currently being held by its employees while the talks continue could cause this to exceed 100 flights.
A trade union meeting on the matter commenced at 09:00 local time (07:00 UTC) this morning. According to Bloomberg, the unions have rejected the proposed 12.3% wage raise, as this reportedly doesn't apply to all employees. Indeed, representatives claim that the figure for most workers would be closer to 10%.
This isn't the first time that Austrian Airlines has had to contend with such action in recent weeks. Indeed, as Simple Flying reported earlier this month, discussions regarding salary talks led to a warning strike that prompted the cancelation of more than 30 flights. In that instance, some 1,800 passengers were impacted as a result.
What is the airline advising?
Given the size and importance of the airline as the flag carrier of its country, Austrian Airlines has been quick to advise passengers regarding the disruption to its schedules. A message on its website provides the following information:
"Due to a works meeting of the works council board for flying staff, there will, unfortunately, be adjustments to our flight schedule on the morning of March 28th, 2023. Passengers who are affected by adjustments and who provided their mobile number or email address when booking will be proactively informed about flight adjustments and rebookings."
The carrier is also asking passengers to check their flight status, adding that "on the company side, every effort is being made to minimize any impact." Vienna Airport echoes this, stating that "due to a trade union meeting at Austrian Airlines, there may be effects to Austrian Airlines flights on March 28th, 2023. We recommend all passengers check the status of their flight with their booked airline."
Looking for a quick resolution
Simple Flying contacted Austrian Airlines for further information regarding the ongoing wage talks, and a spokesperson was able to offer the following statement:
"The company has put a fair offer on the table, which includes an average increase of 12.3% (well above negotiated annual inflation). Flight attendants in the lower wage groups will even receive a pay increase of up to 23%. Furthermore, the crisis package is to be completely withdrawn for all employees with retroactive effect from January 1st, 2023 (2 years earlier than originally agreed). The solidary salary waiver for flying personnel in the amount of 10% has already been terminated as of January 1st, 2023."
The carrier aims, with such an offer on the table, to reach an agreement in today's trade union meetings. In the interests of its passengers, Austrian Airlines hopes that it will have its offer accepted and, in return, get "a smooth start to the Easter vacation and a stable summer flight schedule." For now, we'll have to wait and see.