Cabin crew accept Icelandair deal with immediate effect

28.07.2020 - 10:59
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Bogi Ágústsson - RÚV
Members of the FFÍ Icelandic Cabin Crew Association have voted to accept the wage and conditions contract signed between their Association and the SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise on behalf of Icelandair ehf.

83.5 percent voted in favour, 13.42 percent voted against, and three percent of ballots were left blank. The long and fractious negotiations are now over and the contract has taken effect immediately. 

Nearly 90 percent of members voted in the electronic ballot that started on Friday. 

“We look at this as the best in a horrible situation,” says FFÍ chair Guðlaug Líney Jóhannsdóttir. “Here, we have some influence on our pay and conditions for the future and at the same time we are standing up for our union.” 

She says Icelandair now faces the mammoth task of rebuilding the trust that was broken with its cabin crew members during the negotiations, in which the airline made moves to start afresh with all-new cabin crew and a different union. 

This, the final major outstanding pay dispute at Icelandair after pilots and mechanics signed deals, is seen as an important step towards success in refinancing the airline and ensuring its future. 

Icelandair laid off 95 percent of its cabin crew members at the end of April, or around 900 people. They had differing notice periods, from a minimum of three months, which ends now at the end of July. Relatively few cabin crew had the right to more than three months’ notice. 

The airline plans to work with around 200 flight attendants in August and September “and then we need to wait and see what the winter looks like for us,” said director Bogi Nils Bogason. 

The lay-offs will go ahead, but the airline will then re-employ as many as it can; prioritised by length of service and performance. 

Icelandair lost 12.3 billion krónur in the second quarter of 2020, according to its latest accounts. 

Q1 and Q2 together mean Icelandair lost 45 billion krónur in the first half of this year, including 30 billion directly attributed to the coronavirus crisis. Icelandair’s schedule in Q2 contracted by 97 percent and passenger numbers were down by 98 percent. 

According to Morgunblaðið, Bogi believes the company actually fared better than he feared and its finances are today stronger than he once expected they would be. Icelandair is preparing for a bond issue in August and is completing negotiations with Boeing and existing creditors. Bogi says the airline has mostly been talking with Icelandic investors so far, but that overseas investors are not out of the question. 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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