A new collective agreement proposed by national carrier Estonian Air's management has caused so much dissatisfaction among pilots that they are considering strike, Postimees reported.
A source told the newspaper that negotiations over the new collective agreement for pilots and flight attendants have reached a deadlock, as management's bid to increase the effectiveness of the company entails tightening the work and rest conditions without raising wages.
Last year, Estonian Air reported the largest financial loss in its history - 17.3 million euros. Meanwhile, the company’s supervisory board has set a goal of reaching profitability by the end of 2013 at the latest.
According to Ilona Eskelinen, head of public relations at the company, the previous collective agreement included an average of 40 vacation days per year for pilots, which is significantly higher than the 28 days set out in the Employment Contracts Act. In addition, European regulations allow pilots to fly 900 hours per calendar year. At Estonian Air, the average number of flight hours per 12 months has, until now, been 800.
The above-mentioned differences are hindering the development and competitiveness of the company and must be aligned with the norms and regulations set out in European regulations and Estonian law, Eskelinen said.
The management has said that, if the pilots do not agree with the cuts, it will give up the collective agreement strategy and initiate negotiations with each pilot separately. The Air Line Pilots Association, however, has said it wants to reach an agreement by the end of May at the latest, and has pledged to take further steps if that does not happen, not excluding the possibility of strike.