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Swiss Ground Staff: An Articulate Yes to the "Crisis CLA"


The Swiss ground staff, organized at SEV-GATA, VPOD and Kaufmännischer Verband, clearly accepted the "crisis agreement" on temporary costcutting measures to cope with the Covid-19 crisis by extending the CLA until the end of 2026 in three separate votes. The trade unions, staff associations and Swiss signed the agreement on January 29th after lengthy, difficult negotiations and submitted it to the members for a vote.

"In all three organizations, the members swallowed the small but bitter pill, expecting that this solidary contribution will secure the future of their jobs in the long term and that they will not have to accept any further deterioration in working conditions until the end of 2026," says Philipp Hadorn, SEV union secretary and President of SEV-GATA, who led the negotiating delegation on the part of the employees.

Content of the Agreement

After several months of negotiations, the social partners agreed on the following temporary measures for the Swiss ground staff on January 29th: reduction of the 13th monthly wage by a third, suspension of the performance bonus in accordance with the CLA, and adjustments to the social plan. The following general conditions apply to the package:

  • The measures are limited in time from the end of short-time work until the end of 2023 at the latest.
  • The current CLA ground staff will be extended by three years after the end of the temporary crisis measures.
  • After recovery from the crisis, the staff affected by the savings package will receive a "Covid bonus" of CHF 2,500.
  • Swiss is obliged to inform the social partners about the effects of the savings measures and corporate key figures on a quarterly basis.

Future Prospects for Ground Staff

"With these measures, the ground staff is making a painful but reasonable and important contribution to securing jobs and working conditions in the long term as well as preventing layoffs," says SEV-GATA President Philipp Hadorn.

"The CLA 2018 is secured at the current level until the end of 2026, and the social plan benefits are also clearly regulated," emphasizes Stefan Brülisauer from VPOD.

"These moderate, temporary cost-cutting measures give employees future prospects," adds Caroline Schubiger from Kaufmännischer Verband. "This is important for their motivation and their loyalty to the company and also serves to maintain their know-how."

Why the Agreement?

Like all companies in the aviation industry, Swiss was hit hard by the pandemic. The airline continues to make losses on a daily basis and the further development of the crisis is open. The unions and staff associations contributed to Swiss receiving federal aid and short-time work being approved and extended. This involves a wage sacrifice for the staff, although the airline is at least obliged to top up the lowest wages.

Overall, Swiss wants to reduce personnel costs by 15 to 20% by cutting as few jobs as possible through fluctuation and voluntary measures such as early retirement. In the last few months, Swiss tried to negotiate cost-cutting measures in detail for the various staff categories.

Further Information:

SEV-GATA: Philipp Hadorn, SEV union secretary & President SEV-GATA,
079 600 96 70,

VPOD Luftverkehr: Stefan Brülisauer, Regional Secretary,
076 547 51 21,

Kaufmännischer Verband: Communications,
044 283 45 13,

The Staff Associations for Swiss Ground Staff

SEV-GATA (Groundstaff Aviation Technics and Administration) is the air traffic department of the Swiss transport union SEV. With around 40,000 members, SEV is Switzerland's largest trade union in the public transport sector and the second-largest member of SGB (Swiss Federation of Trade Unions), which includes a total of 380,000 members. www.sev-gata.ch

VPOD Luftverkehr is a section of VPOD (Association of Public Service Staff), the union for employees in public or mixed-economy companies. VPOD has over 34,000 members and belongs to SGB (Swiss Federation of Trade Unions) as well. www.luftverkehr.vpod.ch

Kaufmännischer Verband has been the competence center for education and work in the commercial and business environment as well as in retail trade for more than 140 years. Their leading thoughts set standards for a future-oriented educational, economic and social policy. www.kfmv.ch