June 4, 2020 / 6:50 AM / a month ago

Wage deal struck to save jobs at Lauda pending Ryanair's OK

VIENNA (Reuters) - A collective wage agreement aimed at saving airline Lauda’s Vienna base has been agreed by business and labour groups who will now need the approval of parent company Ryanair (RYA.I).

FILE PHOTO - The Laudamotion logo is seen during a news conference in Vienna, Austria September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary had threatened to close Lauda’s main hub in the Austrian capital and instead bring in Ryanair jets unless staff agreed to a pay cut and a new labour agreement.

Lauda said on Friday it was shutting down its Vienna base after failing to reach a pay agreement with the union in a move expected to involve the loss of around 370 jobs.

But Austria’s Vida union and the Chamber of Commerce (WKO), which represents businesses in negotiations with unions, said in separate statements on Thursday that they had struck a deal.

“After long and difficult negotiations and repeated attempts by the WKO to bring about a compromise, a solution for a collective wage agreement was achieved on Wednesday night,” the WKO said.

The Vida union said the deal lasting until 2023 involved a gross monthly wage of 1,440 euros ($1,613) for flight attendants and 2,000 euros for co-pilots.

Lauda management and Ryanair have yet to give their approval, Vida said.

“It is now up to Laudamotion and Ryanair to accept the Austrian social partners’ collective wage agreement and thereby save its employees’ jobs and its base at Vienna airport,” Vida said, using the airline’s legal name, Laudamotion GmbH.

The WKO and unions are referred to as social partners.

A Ryanair spokeswoman declined to comment. A Ryanair news conference for Austrian journalists due to take place on Thursday morning was postponed until next week.

Vida had long refused to agree to Lauda’s proposals as it said they would hit some employees unacceptably hard, provoking criticism from some staff who said they wanted their jobs saved. Pilots in particular had opposed the union.

($1 = 0.8930 euros)

Reporting by Francois Murphy; additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jason Neely

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