Austrian cuts pilot salaries and puts cabin crew on short time

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Austrian Airlines Group is to implement short-time working for its flight attendants and a salary cut for pilots, as part of a package of newly-agreed cost-cutting measures.

The short-time measure will affect 2,000 cabin crew from 1 June. Under the agreement, which is still subject to ratification, flight attendants will reduce working time to 90% and salaries to 95% of current levels.

The difference will be made up by support from an Austrian employment service.

Austrian Airlines Group's pilots, about 1,000 in all, will face a "deferred compensation" measure. This features a salary cut of either 5% or 8.5%, depending on specific collective agreements, and pension fund contributions will be reduced by 75% from this month.

Chief operations officer Peter Malanik says the new agreement follows a deal with commercial and technical personnel.

"This package will now enable us to realise the cutbacks in staffing costs that are necessary and counteract the anticipated slump in revenue," he says.

Austrian says the measures, which will stay in place for a year, will exclude certain part-time and lower-income staff.

Trade union Vida's deputy chairman, Wilhelm Haberzettl, says: "In awareness of its responsibility for the interests of the employees and the company, the negotiations team of the trade union has agreed upon the compromise.

"With this mutual consent, we could avoid dismissals and further drastic measures in this critical time."

Austrian chief commercial officer Andreas Bierwirth adds: "We now also expect to see our system partners make a clear contribution to the efforts of all at the group to secure both the future of Austria as a business location, and their jobs."