Workers of TUI fly Germany received terrible news this summer, with the company announcing major restructuring plans that consist of downsizing of the German fleet and the closure of several German bases. The plans affect aircrew as well as maintenance staff, with more than 1000 under threat of dismissals. To reduce costs and make their operations more “efficient”, the company plans to move some of the jobs from Germany to other countries in Europe. This move can be understood as the company trying to avoid paying decent wages and evade the protections afforded to workers by strong unions and works councils.
TUI fly Germany’s plans are causing great uncertainty among the aircrew and maintenance staff who have contributed to efforts of saving the company during the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier this year, the company has even received state aid to help it get through the crisis, but the loan came without any conditions in terms of protecting jobs or working conditions. This case exposes a larger structural issue in Europe: most companies receiving state aid did not have to abide by social rules, and were able to use this opportunity to further their shareholders’ interests. Instead of involving workers’ representatives in finding joint solutions to the current situation, TUI fly Germany decided to accelerate restructuring, leaving the workers behind.
The ETF is joining Ver.di in their call for social conditionality in state aid. Companies should not be allowed to use crises to restructure, dismiss workers and worsen their working conditions. TUI fly Germany mustn’t be allowed to use public money to attack workers while ignoring their calls for dialogue and discussion of alternative solutions.