Ruling will have serious consequences

19 June 2003

The court of arbitration has rejected the SWISS PILOTS’ demand that, in the event of job cuts, all former Swissair pilots should be made redundant before the first former Crossair pilot can be dismissed.The court of arbitration has ruled that if there are too many pilots, jobs should be trimmed in proportion to the size of the two existing corps in line with a ‘zipper system’.This ruling will have serious consequences for SWISS.

In a decision issued on 17 June 2003, the court of arbitration rejected the application by SWISS PILOTS that, if the fleet is reduced and pilots dismissed, all former Swissair pilots working on European and long-haul routes should be the first to go, even if 50 to 100-seater regional aircraft are grounded. The court also rejected an application by SWISS to the effect that if aircraft in the regional fleet are grounded, former Crossair pilots working on these aircraft would be dismissed and conversely, if aircraft serving big European and long-haul routes are taken out of service, former Swissair pilots will lose their jobs.

The court of arbitration ruled that if aircraft are grounded and pilots have to be dismissed, a proportional zipper system will come into play.

This ruling will have very serious consequences for SWISS should it acquire legal validity. The zipper system will cause substantial additional costs and will rob SWISS of any possibility of executing the planned fleet reduction on the basis of economic criteria, or of fully exploiting the savings potential associated with the reduction.

SWISS intends to discuss the consequences of the ruling with the pilots’ unions.

SWISS will be holding a media conference at its head office in Basel on Tuesday, 24 June at 2 p.m. to explain the forthcoming restructuring and the consequences of the ruling by the court of arbitration.