After announcing the move at the beginning of October, Wizz Air is launching domestic flights in Norway today. The act has not gone unnoticed by Norwegian unions, who are marking the occasion by protesting the company in airports around the country.
The Pilot Association and the Cabin Crew Association of the ETF affiliate Parat consider Wizz Air a threat to the Norwegian working life model, where unions and social dialogue play a central role. In stark contrast to this tradition, Wizz Air’s business model is based on ignoring the demands of the workers and dismissing union activists. The most well-known example of such actions is the Romanian case, in which Wizz Air dismissed 19 staff members because of their association with a union. The move was shown to be unlawful by the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination in 2015 and additionally confirmed as such several years later by the Romanian Supreme Court. This did not stop Wizz Air – earlier this year, another case of union-busting by the company had come to light when they launched an aggressive anti-union campaign in the Kyiv base.
Norwegian unions have been watching all of this unfold and are determined to prevent Wizz Air from doing anything similar in Norway. They believe that by refusing their employees to organise, Wizz Air is violating basic human rights and would, if they repeated such practices in Norway, violate Norwegian law. Unions do not see a future for Wizz Air in the country unless the company respects Norwegian law and collective agreements, including paying the employees working in Norway in line with Norwegian standards.
Unions’ collective actions will continue, and they will not stop putting pressure on the company until Wizz Air recognises the workers’ right to organise and respects national law.
For more information on the action, Parat’s video report is available here.