Turkey’s flagship carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) will be cutting pilots’ wages in half and lowering other employees’ pay checks in an attempt to recover from the financial blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, aviation union Hava-İş Chairman Ali Kemal Tatlıbal told business news outlet Bloomberg.
“In an internal email to staff seen by Bloomberg, Turkish Airlines said stakeholders and workers will have to take ‘permanent measures’ to cut costs,” Bloomberg reported on June 2.
Hava-İş, representing more than 75 percent of the airline’s 30,000-person payroll, said that they were ready to negotiate, but wouldn’t sign without members’ support.
THY reportedly said that the company’s only way of protecting jobs would be a wage restructuring, but didn’t respond to requests for comments.
“We’ve received no formal proposal yet, but what we understand is that management basically wants to scrap collective-agreement terms on wages and social rights,” Tatlıbal said. “We don’t want the company to go bankrupt, but savings from staff should be the final resort.”
As the airline’s stock prices reach their lowest in a month, Moody’s Investors Service painted a grim portrait of operations only rising as high as 40 percent of usual.
“Turkish Airlines has $1.1 billion in debt repayments due this year from its total of $9.6 billion, according to its website,” Bloomberg reported.
The airline suspended commercial flights for almost three months during the COVID-19 pandemic.