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Workers Go On Indefinite Strike At Budapest Ferihegy Airport

11.12.2008
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Workers Go On Indefinite Strike At Budapest Ferihegy Airport
"Two trade unions at Budapest's Ferihegy Airport have started an indefinite strike on Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement on a new collective agreement with Budapest Airport, the operator of Ferihegy.

9:18

A member of the strike committee said that shortly after 09:00 CET, 80% of the airport workers currently on duty were on strike. Péter Terebesi told news portal index.hu that hundreds of people are currently waiting at the airport, while employees on passenger safety, navigation and even on airport security are on strike.

The last flight allowed to land at Ferihegy today (at 06:27) was the one coming from Damascus and the last departure took place at 07:49, a flight bound to Milan.

08:45

The unions object to irregular and concealed layoffs, the shortage of staff they claim endangers safety and extra working hours. The unions claim Budapest Airport was only dragging time during the talks and not only declined to give details about its plans with the employees, but also unilaterally cancelled the collective agreement.

Budapest Airport said the old collective agreement “tied its hands" and made operation of Ferihegy Airport difficult and wasteful.

One of the unions called for the suspension of the restructuring programme at Ferihegy, which BA said was “unacceptable". BA said the overhaul, which started in 2006, aims at creating a company that meets 21st century standards and is able to react to challenges swiftly and efficiently.

It said that it was this modernisation that allows BA not to cut staff radically and operate accurately despite the difficult economic situation.

“By the restructuring we create the long-term stability of BA so that we will be able to retain the most jobs possible in the long term," said Jost Lammers Chief Executive.

The two trade unions comprise about 1,800 members.

Air carrier Malév said it would do “everything possible" to continue operating its services.

"Although the airline has its own technical and ground handling staff, the work stoppage affecting the airport's passenger security service and fuel provisioning may prove critical for Malév as well as other carriers, depending on the level of support for the strike," the airline said.

As the situation stands at the moment, Malév management reckons that the airline will be able to guarantee its morning operations. This represents 20 departing flights until 10 am local time.

Ferihegy is majority-owned by a consortium led by Germany's Hochtief, which bought the airport from Britain's BAA PLC for EUR 1.9 billion in 2007. The Hungarian state still controls 25% of the company plus one vote."
 
Source: Portfolio Online Financial Journal





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