Negotiations fail, threat of dismissal at Swissport Geneva

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“We will unfortunately have to give their leave to people who do not accept the new conditions within the time limit”, indicates the management of Swissport Geneva, contacted by Time following the failure of negotiations with the social partners, underway for two weeks. During a general assembly on Friday morning, some 200 Geneva employees of Swissport refused the proposal for a collective labor agreement (CCT), known as “crisis”, for the next two years.

They are still around 380 who have not accepted the new employment contracts sent by Swissport Geneva on January 4, the conditions of which are due to come into force on June 1. A figure likely to change until the deadline of February 15, specifies the service provider specializing in aviation. “We have started discussions on a social level during the consultation period,” says the company.

Read also: Tension mounts between Swissport and its employees in Geneva

At the start of the year, the 1,000 people working for Swissport in Geneva received a new employment contract. They had until January 28 to sign it. Faced with social protest and the involvement of certain Geneva politicians, the company agreed on January 26 to postpone this deadline to February 15 and to open new negotiations with union representatives. These were carried out under the aegis of David Hiler, former Geneva State Councilor, appointed as mediator by the Council of State.

No CCT since September

In a press release sent to Time, the air traffic section of the Syndicat des services publics regrets “the intransigent position of the management of Swissport” and points to the “only and meager concession” of the company at the end of these negotiations, which would be “to keep for a few additional months the contribution to health premiums ”. According to union representatives, the collective labor agreement proposed by Swissport at the end of these two weeks of negotiations would perpetuate the working conditions provided for in the new contracts.

The political authorities and the management of the airport must get wet, because with Swissport dialogue is no longer possible

Jamshid Pouranpir, union secretary of the SSP

For the employees, these represent losses of income of up to 1200 francs per month, an extension of the weeks, which go from 40 to 41.25 hours, fewer vacations … “We are in the process of cutting a quarter of the salary staff, ”says Jamshid Pouranpir, union secretary of the SSP.

Also read: Short-time working saves Geneva airport

This mobilization is part of a context where the last CCTs expired on September 30, 2020, for lack of an agreement for their renewal between the unions and management after fifteen months of negotiations.

To justify its position, Swissport Geneva recalls in a press release dated the day it experienced in 2020, an average production drop of 75% and indicates losing more than a million francs per month. For the management, the year 2021 does not present itself under better auspices. “Currently, the decrease in the volume of flights is 85% compared to 2019 and a recovery is not foreseeable in the near future,” she says.

Political support

After the assembly of Friday morning, the mobilized employees planned to go to Place du Bourg-du-Four to be heard and ask the Council of State to follow up on the motion voted by the Geneva deputies on January 29th. The latter notably asked the canton government to urge the stakeholders to submit to the arbitration of the Chamber of Collective Labor Relations rendered last October which recommended the establishment of a new collective labor agreement and the negotiation of a Social plans.

Read the interview with the boss of Swissport: Antoine Gervais: “We are taking action to maintain jobs”

“The political authorities and the management of the airport must get wet, because with Swissport dialogue is no longer possible”, affirms Jamshid Pouranpir. In the event of the employer’s refusal, this motion also called for the concession granted to the service provider to be called into question since the airport is a public structure. “Professional practices that protect staff do not apply to auxiliary staff,” says Jamshid Pouranpir. Failure to comply with the conditions in use or the CCTs exposes Swissport to violating its concession. ”

For its part, management believes that it has always complied with these requirements. “Our new conditions comply with current regulations, customs and the law on the minimum wage,” she says.

State Councilor Mauro Poggia was to receive union representatives in the afternoon.