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Sepla and USO-Air Sector sue Wamos Air for discriminatory treatment of pilots and crew members

Nueva sección sindical de Sepla en Wamos - Pilotos de España
  • The airline has failed to pay the correct salary to its crew members and pilots on reduced working hours for child care or care of sick relatives for 20 years

Madrid, February 9, 2024 – Wamos Air has been sued by USO-Air Sector before the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate for not correctly paying cabin crew members on reduced working hours for legal guardianship. The lawsuit is based on a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (case C-660/20) in a similar case. The company sets the same threshold for people on reduced working hours for legal guardianship or care of sick relatives as for those not taking such reduction when paying for extra flight hours. In some cases, this can mean almost 900 euros less per year. Moreover, with three times more female cabin crew members than male, it represents a clear detriment to those who most resort to reduced working hours in our country: women. These unpaid amounts, over their 20 years of existence, represent an abuse in the salary of the workers and a loss for the Social Security and public treasury.

Pilots, through the Sepla union and individually, had already sued the company in court over the same issue, with some still awaiting a verdict. The USO-Air Sector’s complaint also includes the discrimination that cabin crew members who perform the same work receive different allowances (a difference of between 80 and 105 euros), depending on the date of entry into the company. This concept compensates for similar situations, such as meals, so it is not appropriate to pay different amounts within the same collective.

Obstacles to the first company committee elections at Wamos Air

The complaint was filed in the context of the first company committee elections in the entire history of Wamos Air and coincides with the illegal dismissal of 18 TCP and 5 pilots during Christmas, as retaliation after notifying the company of the start of the electoral process and for creating the Sepla union section at the airline.

Furthermore, USO-Air Sector and Sepla are aware that senior executives (commercial manager, deputy to the head of Operations, deputy to the head of TCPs, or head of TCPs Instruction) have submitted their candidacy to be present in the works council; and that others (vice president of Commercial, vice president of Operations, vice president of Marketing and Communications, or the CEO’s own lawyer) have endorsed with their signature the candidacy by group of workers, something unprecedented in the sector (wamosair.com/en/about-us/).

Sepla and USO are studying whether this may violate article 13 of the Organic Law on Trade Union Freedom due to possible company interference by promoting candidacies controlled by the employer.

For the chief delegate of the Sepla union section at Wamos Air, Joan Bauzá: “the airline has shown systematic contempt for workers, but it must be aware that the anachronistic system of command and control no longer works.” He also requested Wamos Air to “adapt to the reality of the sector, where airlines and workers have fluid channels of dialogue and understanding.” For Bauzá, “pilots and TCPs are going to work to build a fairer, more dignified Wamos Air with greater well-being for workers, a Wamos Air we can be proud of.”

USO Air Sector believes that “it is very concerning that a company that has received public aid through SEPI, exercises discriminatory treatment towards its workers, and, not satisfied with not paying its workers correctly, obscenely devises ways to infiltrate the works council through a candidacy filled with executives, something that numerous arbitration awards and judgments have resolved as contrary to law.”